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Series / Cheers

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"Making your way in the world today takes everything you got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away...?
Sometimes you want to GO—
Where everybody knows your name....
And they're always glad you came....
You wanna be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name....
You wanna go where people know
People are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name...!"
— "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy, the show's iconic Thematic Theme Tune

Cheers was a hugely popular sitcom, which aired on NBC for eleven seasons (1982Ė93), about the goings-on at a friendly neighborhood bar in Boston. When it began, it was notable for the fact that the entire show took place in the bar, never venturing outside, but this was dropped after a while.

The bar was owned for much of the series' run by Sam Malone (Ted Danson), a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox whose career was cut short by alcoholism. His employees include short-statured and short-tempered waitress Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman) and absent-minded bartender Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto), his former pitching coach at the Red Sox. Bar regulars include underemployed accountant and armchair philosopher Norm Peterson (George Wendt) and Know-Nothing Know-It-All mailman Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger). The lives of the Cheers staff are shaken up when book smart but street dumb Boston University graduate student Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) is dumped by her fiancé while waiting for him at the bar; at a loose end, she accepts a job as a waitress.

Cheers can be neatly divided into the Diane years (Seasons 1-5) and the Rebecca years (Seasons 6-11) - in the transition from Diane to Rebecca, the show's production company Paramount Television also changed its logo (in fact, other than Entertainment Tonight, it was the last Paramount production from its "Blue Mountain" era still producing new episodes). During the first five seasons, the Sam-Diane romance was the central theme. Their relationship was the most over-elaborate in television history, until Ross and Rachel came into the picture. After an acrimonious breakup at the end of Season 2, Sam had a relapse of his alcoholism while Diane voluntarily committed herself and fell in love with her psychiatrist, Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), who returned with her to Boston to help Sam kick the bottle. However, Diane's feelings for Sam had not gone away, and between Seasons 3 and 4, she left Frasier at the altar and, after trying to find herself through first hedonism, then asceticism, returned to her old job at Cheers. After Nicholas Colasanto died of a heart attack in 1985, Coach was likewise written out as having died between seasons, and in Season 4, he was replaced by his friendly but naive young penpal, Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson) of Hanover, Indiana. Meanwhile, just as Diane had moved on from her broken engagement to Frasier by re-kindling her romance with Sam, so Frasier found an unlikely new love in fellow psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth) in Season 5; they married in Season 6 and became parents to a son, Frederick, in Season 8.

After Season 5, Long left for a less-than-brilliant career in movies, and to raise her child, so the five years of Will They or Won't They? culminated in Diane calling off her wedding to Sam to pursue her writing career at the urging of both her ex-fiancé and Sam himself. In Season 6, Kirstie Alley joined the cast as Rebecca Howe, an ambitious but neurotic executive at the corporation to which Sam sold Cheers after Diane left; although Sam was given his job back as a bartender, ownership of Cheers was traded between Sam and Rebecca several times. Though the sexual tension between Sam and Rebecca remained a plot element, the show became more of an ensemble for its last six seasons.

For its first couple seasons, Cheers was teetering on the brink of cancellation despite acclaim from critics and actually came in dead last in the ratings its first year. However, it slowly became one of the most popular shows on television. Its final episode, which aired on May 20, 1993, was one of the most watched finales for a sitcom in American television history.

The first draft of the Cheers script was originally set in a hotel of all places, with wacky guests coming and going (the creators were inspired by Fawlty Towers). After the vast majority of script ideas ended up set in the hotel's bar, the producers just dropped the hotel concept entirely.

Cheers was modeled after the real-life Boston bar the Bull & Finch Pub, which was used as the exterior. The two bars do not share a layout indoors, the Bull & Finch—renamed Cheers Beacon Hill in 2002—being completely different, so a replica of Cheers as it appeared on the show was built at Faneuil Hall. The replica bar closed in August, 2020.

The show produced two spin-offs: The Tortellis, a mainly forgotten one-season show featuring Carla's ex-husband Nick and his family, and the very successful Frasier, featuring occasional guest appearances by the Cheers cast (most frequently Lilith and a twice-recast Frederick), which ran for another 11 years.

"Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your trope":

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  • 555: Carla's phone number is 555-7843. A phone number begins with 555 in "Any Friend of Diane's," "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Everyone Imitates Art," "Never Love a Goalie (Part 1)," and "How to Win Friends and Electrocute People."
  • '80s Hair: OK, besides the hair, the show dates very well.
    • In the first two seasons, '70s Hair is still quite pervasive. Season three is the first where 80's hair is almost 100% prevalent.
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Martin Teal, who tries to pressure Rebecca into marriage in Season 7. He looks like he's about sixteen and is five feet tall if he's lucky—but he's also her boss, so corporate lackey Rebecca has a hard time saying no.
    • Later, she suffers from the advances of Woody's cousin Russell—who becomes a Stalker with a Crush. And then later on, Carla's doofus son Gino.
    • Sam is also this to Rebecca off and on, especially early in Rebecca's run. While the attraction isn't as one-sided as Rebecca tries to convince herself of, they never fully become a couple and end up best friends. They agree to platonically co-parent a child, but change their mind as it begins affecting their friendship.
  • Accidental Adultery: Played With. Cliff gets bitten by a dog on his route and decides to sue the owner. The owner then starts up a relationship with him instead. Eventually, she gets him to sign a document dropping the lawsuit and checks her messages. One of them is from her husband who disappeared in Vietnam and just came back. (It was a con, and Cliff knew it. When he blundered and signed, the call came and Cliff muttered "Uh oh", knowing she was about to dump him with the lawsuit gone.)
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In "They Call Me Mayday", Coach is able to do handstand push-ups (one-handed handstand push-ups, even) when he remembers doing them during Spring Training. When Sam points out it was actually someone else who was able to do them, Coach immediately collapses.
  • Actor Allusion: A strange case. For a while, Carla's ex-husband Nick was The Faceless, and was described as Danny DeVito. Rhea Perlman played Zena, Louis DePalma's girlfriend on Taxi. DeVito was going to play Nick, but his movie career took off and Dan Hedaya was hired to play the role instead.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • In "Sam Turns The Other Cheek", Diane can't resist dropping one Pun after another when Sam reveals to her that he accidentally shot himself in the behind. Even Sam soon finds himself struggling to keep it together at her quips.
    Carla: I've got it! I've got it!
    Diane: What, you've actually managed to conjure up something besides yet ANOTHER illegitimate child?
    Carla: Ooooh, a completely unprovoked personal attack...I like it!
  • Airplane of Love: In "Showdown, Part I," when Sam thinks he's lost his chance with Diane due to his brother, he hears a plane fly overhead and turns to look upward.... (To Be Continued....)
  • The Alcoholic: Sam is a recovering one. When asked what happened to his baseball career, he says, "Elbow trouble. Bent it too often."
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In "Bar Bet", Sam almost loses the bar when he falls off the wagon and makes a drunken bet to marry Jacqueline Bisset within one year. (The sleazy guy trying to take the bar from Sam is Michael Richards). Diane brings up the fact it's not enforceable, but Sam wants to keep it quiet because he's ashamed of getting drunk again.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sam is a definite beneficiary of this trope. It's even lampshaded in one episode when Lilith invites him to appear on a television show to promote a book she's written about the phenomenon. And then it turns out even Lilith is not immune to this one.
  • All Part of the Show: In "Homicidal Ham" Diane and crazy Andy are performing Othello's murder of Desdemona. Andy really begins to strangle Diane. She struggles, causing the present acting scout to exclaim, "I love it! A Desdemona who fights back!" Sam still briefly checks with the acting coach to make sure "Help me! This psycho's trying to kill me!" isn't part of the original text of the play. Coach exclaims, "That's the only line of Shakespeare I ever understood!" invoked
  • Alternate Catchphrase Inflection: Inverted. When Norm enters the bar, he usually gives a cheerful greeting and everyone says his name in an equally cheerful voice. In one episode, he enters the bar and while he still sounds cheerful, he looks devastated. Everyone says, "Norm?" in a confused, concerned tone.
  • Always Someone Better: Sam's never-seen brother Derek is wealthier, more popular, and more attractive to women than Sam, giving Sam a lifelong inferiority complex.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: Woody wants to make a video for his parents to convince them to let him stay in Boston. Diane takes over production and makes it into a pretentious Le Film Artistique, Manchild in Beantown.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: "Coach Buries a Grudge", wherein Coach and his old friends get together to bury a deceased teammate, and they get caught up in how much they hated him until Diane leads everyone in the hymn.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Philip Semenko, played in a memorable guest role by Christopher Lloyd.
    Phillip: I make love to everything I paint!
    Diane: Your most famous painting is of the Harvard-Yale football game!
    Phillip: Yes, I spent three months in jail. College types don't understand me. [wistfully] I do, however, still get a few Christmas cards.
  • Anachronism Stew: Discussed in "Abnormal Psychology" after Norm and Cliff return from watching a gladiator movie.
  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: Norm likes his pizza with anchovies, which also assures that nobody asks him to share it.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Having come Back for the Finale, Diane smilingly reacts this way when Woody tells her of his recent election to the city council, claiming she's "next in line for the throne of England!" Woody thinks she means it, catching Diane off guard as she realizes he's serious....
  • And Starring: George Wendt was billed last in the opening credits for the entire duration of the series, but the "And" wasn't added until the 4th season.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Despite a lot of the characters getting better jobs in the finale, it's strongly implied that their everyday lives will continue to be mostly the same as they have been throughout the series. Even Woody, who was elected to the city council, says that he intends to carry on working in Cheers whenever he has the time to do so. The only major change is Rebecca quitting to get married, and even then we later find out in Frasier that it lasted barely a year.
  • Antenna Adjusting: The Teaser of "Dance, Diane, Dance" from Season 5 finds the Cheers crowd watching a football game when the picture quality suddenly drops. Sam sends Woody over to the set to adjust the antenna, which involves balancing on the panelling while hanging onto the set; inevitably, he loses his footing, but as he hangs from the set, several feet off the floor, the picture clears up - almost. Cliff makes a minor colour adjustment by picking up one of Woody's legs to balance his foot on top of the panelling.
    Woody: Wow, I sure hope this game doesn't go into overtime!
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Part of Norm's Hidden Depths is his occasional skill with these.
    • In "Simon Says", Diane is angsting over Simon Finch-Royce telling her and Sam that they should not only not get married, they should never see each other again, as they have absolutely nothing in common. Norm asks, "Excuse me, Diane: what exactly do you two have in common?" Diane is unable to answer.
    • In "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't", Frasier is brushing off the fact that he didn't tell Lilith about his brief marriage to Nanette Guzman, now known as beloved children's singer Nanny Gee. Norm asks, "Yes, Frasier, but why didn't you tell her?" Frasier doesn't have an answer.note 
  • Art Imitates Art: The opening credits try to match up the tavern-goers in the painting with the characters on the show as the actor credits flash by.
  • Artistic License Ė Religion: Woody and Kelly are on opposite sides of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod/Evangelical Lutheran Church in America schism; this is played up as a parody of more severe religious disputes between couples, as represented by Frasier and Lilith (neither side believes that members of their competing denomination worship Satan).
  • Artistic License Ė Sports: There is absolutely no way a sports bar in Boston wouldn't know the nickname of the UConn sports teams, the Huskies, especially since they're traditional rivals with Boston U in NCAA basketball.
  • Ascended Extra: Several.
    • Most surprisingly, Cliff Clavin was a background character when the show premiered, one of the barflies with a line or two an episode. John Ratzenberger was not promoted to the main cast credits until the second season.
    • Kelsey Grammer was originally supposed to guest star in a handful of Season 3 episodes as Diane's new boyfriend. He parlayed that into a featured role and then into his own Spin-Off.
    • Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) first appeared in one Season 4 episode in which Frasier has a disastrous date. The character returned in Season 5 and eventually Neuwirth joined Grammer in the opening titles.
    • Paul, originally just a background character, was promoted to semi-regular status in the last couple of seasons.
    • What with the show being set in a bar, there were a lot of permanent extras that could qualify as ascended extras and were often referred to by name (Cheers was, after all, the bar "where everybody knows your name"). While they normally only said a throw-away line or two, it's a testament to the excellent writing that they were given significant character development and were able to easily fit in with the regular cast.
  • As Himself: Many Massachusetts athletes and politicians appeared as themselves, as well as an assortment of TV personalities.
    • The series' first guest star to appear as himself was Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, then-US Congressman for the district including Boston and Speaker of the House of Representatives, in Season 1's "No Contest"; Carla initially asks if anyone has ever told him he looks like Tip O'Neill, and he jokes that they have, but he thinks he is much better-looking. He then reveals that he has ducked into Cheers to get away from a woman who kept talking his ear off about her philosophies of everything. Said woman turns out to be Diane, who enters and tries to pick up where she left off until Sam ushers her into his office.
    • In Season 2's "They Called Me Mayday", TV interviewer Dick Cavett appears as himself, and gives Sam the idea to write a book about his baseball career with ghostwriting help from Diane.
    • In the second part of Season 4's three-part finale "Strange Bedfellows", then-US Senator Gary Hart appeared as himself, having met Sam through Boston city councilwoman Janet Eldridge (Kate Mulgrew) and partnered with him for a game of Trivial Pursuit.
    • Robert Urich appeared in Season 6's "Woody for Hire, Meets Norman of the Apes" in his capacity as the star of Spenser For Hire, on which Woody claims to have been an extra.
    • Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox showed up in Season 6's "The Bar Wars" as himself - not that the Cheers gang believed he was who he said he was until they pantsed him and looked at his wallet...
    • "Hot Rocks" from Season 7 features an appearance by Admiral William J. Crowe, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wows the staff and regulars at Cheers with his stories but then, after he has departed, becomes the prime suspect in the theft of Rebecca's $32,000 diamond earrings.
    • Alex Trebek appeared as himself in his role as host of Jeopardy! when Cliff appeared as a contestant in "What Is... Cliff Clavin?" in Season 8.
    • The two members of The Righteous Brothers appeared as themselves in separate episodes; Bill Medley in Season 8's "Finally!, Part 1" to serenade Rebecca on Robin's behalf with "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling", and Bobby Hatfield in Season 9's "Wedding Bell Blues" to perform "Unchained Melody" at Rebecca's aborted wedding to Robin.
    • Season 9's "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" features an appearance by Arsenio Hall on the Cheers TV, promoting an upcoming episode of The Arsenio Hall Show with guests Michael Caine, MC Hammer, and Jeanne-Marie Beaulieu, who has falsely claimed to be the woman for whom Robin Colcord went to prison (thus getting money and fame that Rebecca believes is rightly hers; such is her anger that she pulls the TV off the shelf, smashing it beyond repair).
    • The 200th episode special in Season 9 featured a Q&A session with the cast presided over by John McLaughlin, chairman of the political discussion series The McLaughlin Group.
    • Former Massachusetts governor and unsuccessful 1988 US presidential candidate Michael Dukakis appears in the Season 9 episode "Sam Time Next Year" as himself.
    • Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics starred in two different episodes, Season 9's "Cheers Fouls Out" as a ringer for the Cheers basketball team in a game against Gary's Old Towne Tavern, and Season 10's "Where Have All the Floorboards Gone?" in which the Cheers gang get him obsessed with the number of nails in the floor of the court at Boston Garden, causing his performance to nosedive.
    • Then-Massachusetts Senator John Kerry appeared as himself in The Teaser of the Season 10 episode "Bar Wars VI: This Time It's for Real"; however, Norm and Cliff, whom he meets outside Cheers, have only a vague idea of who he is even after he tells them.
    • The Season 10 episode "Heeeeeere's Cliffy!" featured The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson and his in-house bandleader Doc Severinsen as themselves after Cliff goes to a recording to see Carson tell jokes he supposedly wrote and sent in for the show.
    • The Teaser of Season 11's "Daddy's Little Middle-Aged Girl" features Ethel Kennedy, widow of former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (younger brother of former president John F. Kennedy), and several other members of her family (who are uncredited); Norm and Cliff see them standing outside Melville's as they exit Cheers and try to get a picture with them, but after a miscommunication, Ethel takes a picture of Norm and Cliff with each other instead, and they don't realise the mistake until the Kennedys have gone.
    • Former Our Gang star George "Spanky" McFarland appears as himself in The Teaser of "Woody Gets an Election" in Season 11 (his last TV appearance before his death in 1993); however, when Cliff introduces himself, he comes across as such a scarily obsessive Little Rascals fan that McFarland lies and says he isn't actually who Cliff believes him to be. He confesses the truth to Norm after Cliff leaves.
  • At the Opera Tonight: "Diane Chambers Day". Even Diane falls asleep.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Diane and Carla, in the ending sequence of "Truce of Consequences." After they share a BIG laugh (with Sam) over the episode's events (involving a lie Carla had told Diane during a prior attempt to "reach out" to each other), the two women have a warm exchange that points towards a legitimate friendship beneath all the surface volatility.
    Carla: Hey, look, uh, Whitey—I'm sorry. I know I can be a real pain, sometimes....
    Diane: And I know, that—I take things a little too seriously, at times. I guess I need to be reminded of that.
    Carla: Well—I'll always be there for ya! [Pats Diane on the back]
    Sam: Listen—I want you two to, uh...shake hands.
    [They do. Pause]
    Carla: [Hesitates; shrugs] You're all right. [Beat] Hey—maybe we can go to a movie, one night!
    Diane: Fine! When?
    Carla: [Beat] I'll get back to ya....
  • Awesome Music: Is it really any surprise?

  • Babysitting Episode : Two in Season 10, the first when Sam babysits Frederick, and the second when Sam and Rebecca stay with Carla's brood.
    Rebecca: What's (Anthony) doing?
    Gino: Time.
  • Bachelor Auction: Occurs in "Bidding on the Boys."
  • Back for the Finale: Diane, after Sam sees her accepting an Emmy for writing a TV movie and calls her up.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In "Two Girls For Every Boyd," when Woody, cast in a community theater production of Our Town opposite a young Lisa Kudrow, is too nervous about a love scene to act competently.
    • Woody is also portrayed as a terrible actor to start with, as even his community theater group won't hire him for anything unless they're absolutely desperate. Becomes a Zig-Zagged Trope later, as Woody gives a beautiful performance as Mark Twain in Season 6.
  • Bald of Evil: John Hill to Sam.
  • Bar Brawl: Woody's desire to kick Henri's ass in "Home Malone" leads him to run right into another bar patron, who then throws him across the bar, triggering a bar brawl.
  • Barred from Every Bar:
    • It's a Running Gag that Norm is The Scrooge and absolutely refuses to pay his (quite extensive) bar tab at Cheers. It's quite heavily implied that the other bars in town have decided to just bar him from entrance (and Cheers is thinking it over) as a result of this, with one episode having Norm arriving to a different bar because of the episode's events and the bartender yelling out a "Get out of here, Peterson!" five seconds later.
    • Downplayed when he gets picked as the bar's designated driver for the night. After dropping off his first patron, he returns and Carla reminds him that he's the designated driver. He replies "I know that and you know that, but did you have to call every bar in town and tell them?"
  • Bar Slide: Sam has a trick where he can slide a glass of beer around a corner to a customer.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: Many times and examples. See also the entry Jenny's Number.
    Frasier: It took all afternoon, but I finally washed off all of Carla's phone number in the men's bathroom.
    Carla: [Appalled] Would you mind your own business?!
  • Batman Gambit: Robin Colcord and Gary of "Gary's Olde Towne Tavern" pull these a lot. And though Harry The Hat usually just cons people or steals from them when he appears, he also has two spectacular Batman Gambits to his name, both of which helped Sam.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey", Cheers loses a bet to Gary's Olde Towne Tavern regarding which bar will make more money on St. Patrick's Day, and Sam tells Woody, Norm, and Cliff to go with him to Gary's to perform the forfeit. Paul says that just once, he'd like to be included in something the others do, so Sam invites him along. The forfeit is standing on the stage at Gary's to sing "Getting to Know You" - stark naked.
  • Bed Trick: Woody and Sam get into a little contest in which the winner is the one who kisses Rebecca. She gets wind of it from Carla, and ochestrates it so that Sam and Woody kiss in the dark. Both are disgusted, but Woody makes Sam uncomfortable when he asks him to rate his kissing ability.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Sam and Diane are one of the most famous examples in TV history.
    • Carla and John Allen Hill have this in later seasons.
  • Benevolent Boss: Sam is usually this. He's friendly with most of his employees and generous with pay, giving Carla a raise whenever she got pregnant, for example. He also lets them get away with a lot without firing them.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Never talk smack to Cliff about the U.S. Postal Service (e.g., merely saying "Federal Express").
    • Don't make jokes about Sam's alcoholism in front of Carla.
    • If Diane has left (even only for what the characters didn't know would be a summer break and the season premiere), do not mention her around Carla.
    • Diane loses it in "I Call Your Name" when Sam reveals that he knows she's been calling his name during her nights with Frasier. Hilarity Ensues as she struggles with exactly how she should vent (including grabbing Sam by the shirt).
    • Do not insult or offend the memory of Diane's beloved stuffed animal collection in any way. Downplayed in that rather than try and kill you, she'll more likely shed tears and behave as though you're the worst person alive....
    • Subverted in an early episode when an obnoxious New Yorker tries to goad Carla into assaulting him, in the hopes of suing the bar. Sam tries to warn him not to say anything bad about the Boston Bruins, so he of course launches into a diatribe about how crappy they are. Seconds later, we find out that it wasn't Carla whom Sam was worried about being offended, but rather another customer who happens to be a player for the Bruins. Things go From Bad to Worse when it turns out that the reason he's currently in the bar is because he's serving a suspension for violent behavior...
  • Better as Friends:
    • Sam and Carla are very close, and acknowledge that they each have considered the other as a possible love interest. They kiss at least once. She starts a bar fight in episode 2 to defend his honor. He pretends to be her boyfriend to make her ex jealous. They never become a couple.
    • Sam and Rebecca eventually realize they are this, in Season 10's "Go Make." The episodes following still jokingly have some romantic banter between the two and they both still talk about each others' love lives, but otherwise they just act like close friends.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Diane and Janet, respectively, for Sam in the three-part "Strange Bedfellows."
    • Frasier and Sam are a gender-inverted version of this for Diane, in Season 3.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Used a few times.
    Norm: OW! That really hurt, y'know?
    Carla: Good. Then I haven't lived in vain.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • Sam and Diane have one in Season 1 finale "Showdown (Part 2)."
    • They have another one in Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar."
      Sam: Diane!
      Diane: Yes, Sam...?
      Sam: [Walking up to her] It would've bothered me if he'd done this:
      [The Big Damn Kiss...lasting for a LONG time]
      Diane: [Breathless and weak in the knees] Yes, I can see where that might have given you cause for concern!
      • Then Carla tells Lance that they might have more concern if Carla kissed Lance like "this", and proceeds to hungrily make out with him. Diane annoyedly tells Carla she's not involved. Carla breathlessly replies, "I am now!"
    • Frasier and Lilith, after she lets her hair down. Doubles as a "Shut Up" Kiss.
  • Big "NO!": In the final scene of Season 5's "Diamond Sam", when it FINALLY registers with Carla that Sam and Diane are engaged. Carla freezes, throws her head up, her body shuddering like mad, and....
    • This is how the very first scene of Season 8 ends after Rebecca dreams that she finally yields to Sam's unwelcome advances.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The episode where Rebecca Howe has fallen on hard times and is a Hood Ornament Hottie, demonstrating polishing wax at a car show. In the background is a large advertising poster about a new model called the Candiru 1991. You might take this to be an import from Japan or somewhere else in the Far East. Candiru is actually a Portuguese word: it's that pencil-shaped fish in Brazil that allegedly swims up inside your penis, and lodges there.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Inverted in one of the last episodes, "Rebecca Gaines, Rebecca Loses". Cliff finally puts Ma Clavin in a retirement home. Feeling terribly guilty, Cliff goes back to the home, only to find that it is awesome and Ma Clavin is having a blast. Then when he sees the bill he yanks her out of there.
  • Blunt "Yes": In "Diane Meets Mom" Diane is shocked after Frasier's mom (played by Nancy Marchand) threatens to murder her if she doesn't break it off with Frasier. She goes to Sam for advice.
    Diane: Sam, I have to ask you a question. Promise me you won't make a joke out of it.
    Sam: Yeah, I promise. What's up?
    Diane: Do you think I'm crazy?
    Sam: Yes.
    Diane: Ha! Ha! Now that we've gotten the joke over, will you please help me? This is a strange question, but it's important. Do you think I'm crazy?
    Sam: Yes.
    • It's even funnier when you consider Diane met Frasier as a patient in a sanitarium.
  • The Board Game: Cheers actually had two. One—The Cheers Game—was made in 1987, and has Diane as a token. The other—a trivia board game, just called Cheers—was made in 1992, and has Rebecca instead.
    • In-Universe, the bar appears to own just one as an amenity to customers - a battered old game of Monopoly with most of the player tokens missing or replaced, and un unfeasibly massive pair of dice.
  • Book Ends: The first episode opens with Sam Malone coming out of the back room, turning on the lights and opening the bar. The final episode ends with Sam locking the bar, turning off the lights, and strolling back into the back room.
    • The Diane years have their own Book Ends. In the show's first episode snooty professor Sumner Sloane brings Diane to the bar and she winds up staying there to work after he dumps her. At the end of Season Five, Sumner's visit to Cheers sets in motion a chain of events that lures Diane away.
  • Bottle Episode: Verging on Bottle Series. Especially early on, the show almost never leaves the bar.
    • The entire first season never leaves the bar. The first time an episode takes place somewhere else is the first episode of Season 2 in Diane's apartment.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Diane's dad, apparently. As Diane notes in Season One's "Coach's Daughter," Mr. Chambers was very prone to Twerp Sweating. As she puts it:
    Diane: He would decide he didnít like them for no better reason than one of them had bad posture or another one had facial hair. Iíll never forget the night when I was foolish enough to bring home a utopian socialist.
    Others: Woah!
    Diane: Unbelievable, I know! It's unbelievable. I was a rebel then....
  • Bowling for Ratings: "From Beer to Eternity" involves the gang from Cheers having a bowling match against the gang from Gary's Olde Town Tavern.
  • Brain Bleach: Diane's reaction to Coach's daughter's obnoxious fiance's ideal sport ("full-contact female karate"):
    Diane: Excuse me. I have to go jump-start my brain...
    • Nausea Fuel: Coach's reaction to his daughter's fiance is a little different:invoked
      Sam: Where ya goin', Coach?
      Coach: To toss my cookies.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Sam, listing the subjects of photos in Diane's wallet: "You, you with your cat, you on your horse, you by your car, you and your cat on your horse by your car."
  • Break the Cutie:
    • This happens a few times to Diane Chambers.
      • In the very first episode, she gets dumped by Sumner. She enters so perky and prim, but is left a wreck.
        Diane: (on Sam predicting Sumner was going to dump her for his estranged wife) How did you KNOW?!
        Sam: (shrugging) Bartender's intuition.
      • Perhaps the biggest example is "Diane Chambers Day", where she's so broken, she doesn't come into work the next day just to cry.
        Sam: (on phone with Diane) Oh, hi, Diane. Why aren't you here? Are you sick or something? Oh, well, you sound all stuffed up. Well, I hope you feel better. Bye-bye.
        Norm: What's the matter with her?
        Sam: She said she's got this allergy where you weep uncontrollably.
      • She's devastated when her cat Elizabeth dies in "Let Me Count the Ways", wondering if her cat wondered where Diane was when she passed.
        Diane: Well, she was the only one in my life who was always there... When everybody else was mad at me, she always liked me...when I'd... hide when my parents argued, she'd come with me, and... whenever I was sick, she never left the bed until I was well again... And then, um...when I was...twelve years old, my parents separated. It was... maybe the worst night of my life... Believe it or not, I actually thought about throwing myself in the lake. But then I... looked down at this cat in my lap, and thought, "Well... who would take care of Elizabeth?" (cries) She saved my life that night! And I know it's crazy, and it's irrational, but... oh, Sam, I can't help thinking that last night, when her time came, she must have wondered where I was... (bawls)
      • In "Everyone Imitates Art", after learning she got the same rejection letter for her submission as Woody from a snooty art magazine, she has this painful speech:
        Diane: (utterly defeated) You win, Sam. I've struggled so hard for so long to keep my dreams alive, and I haven't fooled anyone but myself. I know all along you all considered me a pretentious, self-deluded windbag and apparently, you've all been right. I'm never going to be Diane Chambers, the great poet, the world-famous novelist, the revered artist. I've gone as high as I'm going to go. I'm a waitress in a beer hall... and not a very good one. (increasingly depressed) A waitress... a waitress... (Beat) A waitress...
    • Carla is not immune either. In "Slumber Party Massacred", the reason she's devastated about becoming a grandmother is that she never had any time to enjoy being a teenager because she was pregnant.
      Carla: Why do you all keep coming over here?
      Sam: We're trying to cheer you up.
      Carla: Well, stop it! You can't cheer me up. Why do people think they always have to rush over a-and talk somebody out of it when they're feeling lousy? (sighs) Look, this grandmother thing is just something I have to work through, and I will in time. There's nothing any of you guys could do. (Beat) Unless you can make me 15 again. (Beat) Can any of you make me 15 again? (Beat) Well, can you? (long silence) Look, if you really cared about me, you would just get out of my house and do what I asked you to a long time ago. Just just leave me alone.
    • Naive, sweet Coach reacts to the Sam-Diane Ship Sinking with the introduction of Frasier at the end of "Rebound" with palpable distress.
  • Bribe Backfire: Rebecca winds up getting arrested in "Ma Always Liked You Best."
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Cliff gets Norm to join the "Knights of the Scimitar," where they wear turbans.
  • Brutal Honesty: Carla—when she likes you. Seriously.
    [On Sam and Diane's feelings toward each other, in front of Diane's mother]
    Carla: Admit it, he's got you steaming under the silks!
    Diane: (Bolts up; clearly counts to ten) This happens to be my mother!
    Carla: Well, that's why I'm being delicate!
  • Bucket Booby-Trap:
    • For Diane in "Suspicion."
    • Carla inflicts it on Rebecca later on in the series.
  • The Bus Came Back: The last season sees several. Besides Diane's Back for the Finale appearance, recurring characters Harry the Hat, Nick and Loretta Tortelli, Robin Colcord, and Andy-Andy make guest appearances in Season 11 after long absences. Lilith also pops back up after being written off the show at the beginning of Season 11.
  • But Not Too White: Early in the series Carla mocks Diane Chambers for being white-bred, and mockingly calls her "whitey." Diane defends her pale skin as "alabaster." Then along comes Lilith (who is played by Bebe Neuwirth, whose real skin tone was very pale.)
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Diane becomes more and more of one during her time on the show, and long after she leaves the other characters are still getting in digs at her.
    • Cliff, Lilith, and Rebecca are all also frequently the butt of jokes.
    • The lowest on the Butt Monkey totem pole is probably Paul. In the reunion episode on Frasier, even Cliff doesn't want him at his retirement party.

  • Call-Back:
    • In one episode Sam pays a random bar patron to be Diane's blind date, and he turns out to be a convicted murderer. A few episodes later, the man returns and holds up the bar because no one will hire an ex-con. Diane helps him follow his dream of being an actor and he falls for her, but then he sees her kiss Sam and tries to kill her.
    • Two episodes eight seasons apart focus on the Miss Boston Barmaid contest (Diane wins in Season 1 and Carla finishes second in Season 9).
    • Practically a Bookend, they were separated by so many years, in the show's second episode, a patron rushes into the bar and pleads with Coach to let him talk to "Gus," to which Coach tells him to go back "two owners ago." Fast-forward all the way to "The Last Picture Show," one of Season 11's last episodes, and we meet Gus, who was apparently the man who sold the bar to Sam. A reference to Coach is even made.
  • The Cameo: Luis Tiant and Wade Boggs of the Red Sox, Dick Cavett, Adm. William J. Crowe (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Arsenio Hall, Robert Urich, Johnny Carson, Mike Ditka, Kim Alexis, Ethel Kennedy, George McFarland, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. See also Politician Guest-Star below.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: Sam Malone loves the paintings (in particular one of Dogs Playing Blackjack) while his more sophisticated lover, Diane Chambers, hates them. Sam says that he sees something new every time he looks at it.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Poor Sam turns out to be (literally!) unable to fully say "I love you" to Diane: "I lo... I lo..."
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Although Sam flirts with Diane at first, most of it is more of a joke than the earnest attempts to get her into bed that he uses with other women. Instead, she gradually becomes his confidant.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: In the last handful of episodes in Season Two, Sam seems to be going out of his way to undermine his relationship with Diane—eventually acting like a bit of a Jerkass in the two-part season finale. Come the Season 3 premiere, we learn that their breakup had driven Sam back to the bottle and Diane into a temporary emotional breakdown.
    • Norm subverts this: "Women. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts."
  • Cape Swish: In Season One's "The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One," Diane dramatically flings her coat on like a cape—a quick moment of "cool", even though she is technically just doing it to punctuate her line.
  • Career Versus Man:
    • Diane's conflict in the Season 5 finale, between marrying Sam and writing her book; Sloan reveals that there's people willing to publish it if she can just finish the manuscript—but that would mean postponing the marriage to Sam, possibly for good, so she can have the time. Ultimately, Diane is willing to throw this opportunity away to be with Sam, but Sam can't go through with it and urges her to pursue her dream. She doesn't come back.
    • The series finale has both Sam and Diane having this conflict, as they plan to run away together and would effectively leave their careers behind. This occasion ends with "career" winning out, for both of them.
  • The Casanova: Sam is renowned as a ladies' man among the main cast and is looked up to by all but Diane for it. The guys at the bar (mostly Cliff and Norm) enjoy his skirt-chasing antics as a form of entertainment.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Rebecca has one in "The Impossible Dream (Part 1)"—although actually it wasn't a nightmare, it was an erotic dream about Sam. Sam has one in "The Impossible Dream (Part 2)."
    • Frasier in "Woody Gets an Election" when he dreams of President Woody Boyd.
    • "Diane's Nightmare" is about Andy-Andy.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Cliff: "Hey/Y'know, Little Known Fact that, uh...[fill in the blank]"
    • Diane: "Oh, Sam..."
    • Everyone when Norman enters the bar: "Norm!!!"
      • Followed about half a second later with Diane saying "Norman", a bit of business originally ad-libbed by Shelley Long.
  • Catfight:
    • Between Lilith and Frasier's first wife (played by Emma Thompson) in "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't".
      Frasier: You know, I'm going to suffer for this tomorrow, but today, right now, at this exact moment, I'm the happiest man on Earth.
    • Discussed and then averted between Kelly and Woody's friend Emily in "Two Girls For Every Boyd":
      Cliff: Uh oh, looks like Woody's babes are comin' to blows.
      Bar: [eagerly] CAT FIGHT. CAT FIGHT.
      Kelly: You get outta my way right now or, so help me God, I'll... I'll hurt your feelings.
      Emily: You do that and I'll hurt yours right back.
      Frasier: Kitten fight.
      Bar: [disappointed] Kitten fight. Kitten fight.
    • Diane and Carla are known to come close to breaking out into one. One time, they even cat-hiss at each other.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • On the 1988 episode "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," the guys are talking about female celebrities they find attractive. Norm mentions Jill Eikenberry of L.A. Law, which aired at 10 PM on Thursdays at the time, and which raises questions about how that show exists in the Cheers universe, and, if the Cheers gang were to have turned on NBC on a Thursday night at 9 PM, what would they see.
    • In Season 2's "Old Flames", Cliff describes Gandhi as "a fine piece of cinematic art". Cliff does not stop to wonder why that American lieutenant briefly seen driving a jeep in one scene looks so much like him.
  • Character Filibuster: Diane, who has written a long-winded novel, recorded a long-winded answering machine message, and makes long-winded speeches.
    • She even once writes a letter of resignation to Sam that goes on for about 20 pages.
      • It even has at least one graph.
    • Her novel becomes a screenplay only after several thousand pages are cut. She is baffled as to why the original novel was never picked up.
  • Characterization Marches On: Rebecca, when she first appears in season 6, is portrayed as a no-nonsense, Ice Queen-ish businesswoman who was completely on top of things. This doesn't last. Her character later dissolves into a morass of professional incompetence and personal neuroses. Writer Ken Levine gave a very simple reason for this decision: Rebecca was funnier that way.
  • The Chessmaster: Robin Colcord, who manipulates Rebecca into getting him access to corporate info, and manipulates Sam into not buying a piece of land that Robin himself then buys.
  • The Chew Toy: Rebecca. The writers seemed tireless in finding ways for her life to fall apart.
  • Christmas in July: Diane's next-to-last episode, "A House Is Not a Home."
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In seasons 5 and 6, Carla's eldest son Anthony and his girlfriend Annie are recurring characters, until in one episode Anthony mentions he's gotten Annie pregnant. Carla attacks him, and the young lovers leave, never to be seen again.
  • Circumcision Angst: Frasier panics when it's time for Frederick to have his bris.
  • Cliffhanger: Used frequently in the "Diane" years and sparingly thereafter.
    • Each of the first four seasons ends with a cliffhanger that has to do with Sam and Diane's relationship. The most extreme case is the 4th season finale, which consists of the last three episodes of that season. The first and second episodes have cliffhangers of their own, and the third one ends the season with a massive one: Sam makes a phone call to propose, but the episode ends before the recipient is revealed.
    • The first Rebecca season that ends with a Cliffhanger is Season 8. After Robin Colcord flees from police after his plot to take over Rebecca's corporation is exposed, Rebecca finally sleeps with Sam—only to have Robin come back and burst in on them in the last scene of the finale. The resolution is something of an Anticlimax, as Rebecca goes back to Robin and she and Sam are never a romantic item again. Then Season 9 ends with Rebecca and Sam deciding to conceive a childnote —only to have that plot abruptly ended in Season 10 (see Real Life Writes The Plot below).
  • Clip Show: The "200th Anniversary Special," which has John McLaughlin (of the syndicated political show The McLaughlin Group) hosting a panel discussion with the show's cast, writers, and producers, interspersed with clips from earlier episodes. Notably, Shelley Long, who had departed the series by that point, returned to participate in the panel discussion. This episode is usually omitted from syndication runs.
  • Closed Door Rapport: In "Dinner at Eight-ish", Lilith, Frasier, and Diane each retreat into the bathroom after different arguments over their relationships.
  • Comforting Comforter: Sam for Diane in ""How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Call You Back".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Most of the cast is susceptible to this, but Diane is responsible for probably the biggest offence on the show: her reaction to Dr. Simon Finch-Royce's (John Cleese) famous Berserk Button breakdown, after Sam and Diane keep showing up at his hotel room so Diane can keep refuting his insistence that she and Sam are a disaster waiting to happen.
    Diane: Doctor, there's still one thing you haven't considered...
    Dr. Simon Finch-Royce: Ok. Sam... Diane... You two are... perfect together. I'm sorry I made a mistake before but you are the most perfectly matched couple ever. But, why am I telling this to you? Let's share it with the rest of the world. [Opens window] Hear this, world! The rest of you can stop getting married—it's been done to perfection! ENVY them, sofa—ENVY them, chair, for you shall never be as cozy as they for their union shall be an epoch-shattering success—and I STAKE MY LIFE ON IT. Wait a moment, let me get this on record—[speaking into tape recorder] "I, Dr. Simon Finch-Royce, being of sound mind and body, declare that Sam and Diane shall be happy together throughout all eternity, and if I am wrong I hereby promise that I will take my own life in the most disgusting manner possible!" [shoves tape recorder at Diane] Here, take the tape, NO-no, take the whole machine. It's my wedding gift to you: THE MOST PERFECT COUPLE SINCE THE DAWN! OF TIIIIIIIIIIME!!!!!
    Diane: [long pause, then grins at Sam] See...?
  • Compensating for Something: During her polite verbal smackdown of Gary and company, Diane throws in a speculation that this is the reason for Gary's chronic obsession with belittling Sam. ("From Beer to Eternity")
  • The Confidant:
    • Whoever's behind the bar often listens to people's problems when they come in for a drink.
    • Diane becomes this for Sam over the course of the first season.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: Used by Sam in an attempt to get Diane to sleep with him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Four years after Carla is knocked up in "Whodunit?" by Dr. Bennett Ludlow, their son Ludlow Tortelli pops up in "I Kid You Not" as a little egghead that Frasier and Lilith take an interest in.
    • In Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar," Diane is conflicted on whether or not to take up a guy's offer of a weekend-long date. Sam acts cooly indifferent—but Diane strongly suspects that he's covering for his own romantic conflict with this. When the guy (Lance) shows up to take Diane away, and Diane looks to Sam for an answer, he softly says, "Send me a postcard"—a reference to late Season 3, when he says the same thing to Diane over the phone when she's gone to Europe with Frasier. The reference isn't lost on Diane—who takes this to mean her suspicions are right.
  • Cool Car: Sam's Corvette. In last-season episode "Love Me, Love My Car" Sam dates the widow of the man who bought the car in an effort to get it back.
  • Corrupt Politician: In "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" (Season 9, episode 4, original airdate October 11, 1990), Sam goes to visit Robin Colcord in his country club prison. As they walk off the tennis court, an older man walks in and Sam points to him and says, "I voted for that guy."
  • The Couch: The one in Sam's office sees a lot of action.
  • Courtroom Episode: Sam has to propose to Diane to stay out of jail in "Chambers vs. Malone." It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Crossover: With Wings and, improbably, St. Elsewhere, placing Cheers as a spur on many Intercontinuity Crossovers.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In "Norm and Cliff's Excellent Adventure", the cold open has Sam, Rebecca and Carla unable to unlock the front door (having either left their keys at home or inside the bar). Norm comes down the staircase, and he has his own key to the door.
  • Creator Cameo: Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC throughout the 1980s who masterminded the network's rise to the top of the ratings with Cheers and a host of other shows, can be seen in late-series episode "It's Lonely on the Top" as a background bar patron.
  • Credit Card Destruction: As a prank, Norm & Cliff get Frasier's credit card number and call it in as stolen just before he uses it at the bar to buy drinks for some important clients. Sam tells Frasier it's been declined and that he is required to cut it up in front of Frasier.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles:
    • The series of episodes revolving around the gang's feud with rival bar Gary's Old Towne Tavern- the Bar Wars. The first one was just "Bar Wars" (season 6). Then came "Bar Wars II: The Woodman Strikes Back" (Season 7), "Bar Wars III: The Return of Tecumseh" (season 8), "Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment" (season 10), "Bar Wars VI: This Time It's For Real" (season 10) and "Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey" (season 11). (For some odd reason there was no episode titled "Bar Wars IV".)
    • The last two episodes of Season 8, in which Robin's criminal plot is exposed and Sam and Rebecca finally do it, are called "Cry Hard" and "Cry Harder".
  • Cue the Rain: In "Home Malone", Frasier and Lilith's toddler son Frederick has locked Sam out on a windowsill (It Makes Sense in Context). What would be worse for Sam than being stuck out on a ledge of an apartment that's dangerously high up? The rain that starts right after he realizes what a fix he's in.

  • Dartboard of Hate: Frasier takes shots at a dartboard with Lilith's face on it in "Is There a Doctor In the Howe?".
  • Daydream Surprise: In Season 3 finale "Rescue Me" Sam imagines dramatically stopping Diane's wedding to Frasier. The viewer figures out that it's Sam's fantasy right around the time Diane says Sam can keep dating other women.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carla mostly, but Diane and Norm both enjoy getting their shots in.
  • Defeating the Cheating Opponent: Played with. Robin challenges Sam to a game of chess, which Sam doesn't play. Sam uses an earpiece and a computer chess program to cheat, which doesn't fool Robin in the slightest. Robin decides to keep playing, because an honest game with someone who doesn't know the game would be boring. The computer crashes, forcing Sam to make a random move that confuses Robin enough that Sam wins.
  • Denser and Wackier: The show started out as a fairly slow-paced, relaxing, yet witty sitcom. With a lot of the plots in the early seasons being fairly grounded, and most episodes only taking place within the bar. As the series went on however, and especially after Diane left the show, the plots got increasingly more absurd, the jokes per minute increased in numbers, and started to include plenty of sight gags. The show's change in tone is best exemplified in the Season 10 finale An Old Fashioned Wedding, it's essentially a screwball comedy with jokes moving at a breakneck speed and an utterly ridiculous plot.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Apparently, Shelley Long was getting increasingly concerned that the Sam-Diane-Frasier arc in Season 3 was starting to become this—hence her appealing to the writers to put a stop to the Diane-Frasier Romantic False Lead.
  • Diagonal Billing: Used for Ted Danson and Shelley Long in the credits. Discontinued after Shelley Long's departure; although Kirstie Alley was cast as the new female lead, she was given a separate title card after Danson's.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: The episode before Woody's wedding to Kelly sees him coming into the bar with a huge grin on his face and a distracted air. Sam realizes that Woody is acting just like he does when he has sex. It becomes a problem later on, as the couple is so eager to get back to lovemaking that the gang has to keep them separated before the wedding.
  • Dine and Dash: The episode "Young Dr. Weinstein" ends with Sam Malone trying to run out on a check at a fancy, ultra-exclusive restaurant. He has secured a reservation there and eaten a meal while pretending to be someone else, but when it comes time to settle the bill, he attempts to pay with either a credit card or check with his own name on it, which the restaurant won't accept.
    Sam: Oh, well, why don't you, uh, put it on this credit card anyway, and I'll take this Malone guy out to dinner some other time, hmm?
    Waiter: I'm afraid not.
    Sam: Well, all right, I don't suppose you take a personal check, do you?
    Waiter: And whose name would be on that?
    Sam: Okay, well, uh, why don't we try this, then? Oh, my God, look at the size of that cat!
    Waiter: Hey, you, come back here!
  • Disappeared Dad: Cliff's long-lost father pops up in "The Barstoolie."
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe:
    • Kelly Gaines's father Walter is a wealthy, snobbish high-society sort who is frequently seen smoking a pipe.
    • In the episode "Diane's Nightmare," Sam starts acting very sophisticated and debonair, which includes his lighting up a pipe. Then Diane wakes up to discover it was All Just a Dream. When she looks through Sam's desk, she finds an actual pipe, causing her to wonder Or Was It a Dream?... then she examines the pipe more carefully, blows into it and discovers it's a Bubble Pipe.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Sam often falls victim to this one.
    • Diane exploits this in "Power Play", in retaliation for Sam's kicking in her door. After asking him to wait for her to Slip into Something More Comfortable, she soon steps out of her bedroom in a very short-cut nightie, basically playing the part of an Innocent Fanservice Girl... while sweetly telling Sam that she's just called the police. It sinks in a second later.
    • Subverted in "I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday"; needing a loan from Sam, Diane more or less tries to ensure success by giving a sensual "air" to her posture as she "builds up" to the subject in his office. Beforehand, she even lampshades the trope to Carla. But Sam surprisingly doesn't seem to take much notice.
    • In Season 7's "The Gift of the Woodi", Rebecca concludes that she's "too darn beautiful" to get the corporation's higher-ups to pay attention to any of her ideas, and asks for Lilith's help in dressing down.
  • The Ditz:
  • The Dog Bites Back: Frasier in "The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe-Hunter." After being abandoned in the woods as the victim of a Snipe Hunt, he pretends not to realize what they did, in order to get them back to the woods so that he can abandon them. It is his Establishing Character Moment, and he doesn't do it because he is mean or angry—he accepts being a victim of a snipe hunt because screwing with each other is what guys do (meaning that he is at some level accepted by them as one of the group), but screwing with the others right back would also be what guys do. At that moment, Frasier earns some Hidden Depths.
  • Double Date: Sam and his blind date with Diane and Andy-Andy.
  • Double Entendre: Sam and Diane discussing their plans for the night, under the guise of a drink order—all subtlety destroyed by their tones and expressions.
  • Dramatic Drop: Twice in "My Fair Clavin."
  • Dream Within a Dream: "Diane's Nightmare" has Diane dreaming of Andy-Andy and then waking up—into another nightmare.
  • Drop-In Character: Many. Perhaps most notably, there's John Allen Hill, the owner of Melville's in the later seasons.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Jay Thomas once insulted Rhea Perlman's physical attractiveness on national radio. The producers, let's say, weren't thrilled, and soon not only was Eddie LeBec killed in a humiliating way, it turned out he was a polygamist, souring the audience's opinion on the character.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: The show was originally supposed to include a crotchety old spinster named "Mrs. Littlefield" among the bar regulars. However, according to series writer Ken Levine, the character "didn't really score" and she was reduced to a background part in the pilot episode and omitted entirely after that.
  • Drunk on Milk: Cliff gets trashed on fake beer in "License to Hill."
  • Dumb Blonde:
    • Loretta Tortelli. Basically why she's able to put up with Nick's antics. They just don't register with her. For example, she says Nick's cheating on her because she found a blonde hair on his sweather. Diane reminds her that Loretta is blonde too.
    "Hurry up Nick, we're going to miss the Menudo concert!"
    • Kelly Gaines is a milder version.
  • Dumbwaiter Ride: The dumbwaiter at the Gaines mansion gets quite a bit of usage when Woody and Kelly get married. First, Kelly hides in it since Woody's there and the ceremony hasn't started yet. Then the justice of the peace dies and they send him to the basement in it. When they try to bring him back up, he's gone. Now, Carla goes down the dumbwaiter to find him, only to get dropped. Both times she tries to come back up, she gets dropped again.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first few episodes, Carla repeatedly refers to herself as a "Tortelli woman," as though she were born into the Tortelli family. Later episodes would establish that Tortelli is actually her married name, and that her maiden name was Lozupone.
    • Norm and Cliff don't appear to really be best friends in earliest episodes. They're never shown sitting together, and Norm acts annoyed when Cliff does his first "It's a little known fact" spiel in the pilot. It isn't until the 5th episode, "Coach's Daughter", that shows them sitting together, and appearing friendly, save for a moment when Cliff insults Coach, and Norm shoots him a disgusted look.
  • Earworm: "The Heart is a Lonely Snipehunter" has people in the bar singing "The Sunny Side of the Street", passing from person to person, even as one patron walks out. The next person who enters is also singing it, and passes it on to Coach.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • In the episode where Nick gets dumped by Loretta and wants Carla back, everyone else in the bar seems willing to forgive him for all his deplorable behavior just because he continues to talk about Carla, and has been working hard doing odd jobs in the bar for a while. Even Diane, who found Nick disgusting before then, seems to think he has legitimately changed (although this wouldn't be the first time she's been willing to give someone a chance that maybe she shouldn't have, such as Andy-Andy.) Every previous appearance of Nick's showed him flaunting his infidelity, selfishness and manipulations in full view of the others—even to the point of trying to take one of Carla's kids to give to his new wife in one of the episodes, and the major point of it was that Carla was able to overcome his influence in order to get her son back.
      • Averted by Carla herself, who refuses to accept that he has changed until everyone else gets on her case about it. When she finally caves, his other wife comes back to him, and after telling her he doesn't want her back, convincing Carla, he realizes it wasn't a test and gives an excuse about having a sudden disease that needs cured, leaving Carla and proving her right.
    • Dave Richards, who manipulates Sam and Diane quite a bit in "Old Flames"; the next time he "appears" (as a voice-over over the radio in "Love Thy Neighbor", as he interviews Sam on-air), Sam's on perfectly good terms with him.
    • Diane in Season 5; after driving Sam to the breaking point by waffling on all three of his marriage proposals (one of which she made him put a lot of expense into to make it romantic,) he snaps and chases her out of the bar. She leaves unscathed, but then charges him with assault and battery purely as a means to subject their relationship to the scrutiny of a courtroom, complete with faking serious injuries to gain more sympathy. At the end of it Sam is forced to propose to her one more time or else face jail time (a proposal which Diane says only later that she won't hold him to.) By the end of it, Sam has been humiliated and put through an emotional wringer, and yet he turns around and sincerely tries to marry Diane anyway. Because he loves her.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lilith is one of these. Her incredibly pale skin and dark ensemble is used to show how socially removed she is from the rest of the characters.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: Eddie Lebec's French mother doesn't approve of him marrying Carla, and expresses her displeasure in her native tongue. Frasier reluctantly offers a translation.
    Frasier: She said she'll never allow this marriage, especially to a pregnant hussy who's only trying to trap her son. Then she said that she'd rather be dragged around town by her tongue, or else she called you a small grapefruit.
  • Embarrassing Ad Gig: Woody once appeared in a commercial for a vegetable drink where he simply holds up a bottle of the product and says, "I like it." He's quite proud of the ad...until he tries the product and hates it. Now he can't stand the commercial because he essentially lied in it.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up:
    • In the pilot, Sam tells Coach that Diane is a hooker.
    • In the penultimate show, Sam reveals he's bald and wears a toupee.
  • Embarrassing First Name:
    • Norm's real first name is "Hillary."
    • Woody's real first name is "Huckleberry."
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: In "It's Lonely on the Top", Norm and Cliff get drunk and end up asking What Did I Do Last Night? - and re-trace their steps by looking through the receipts in Cliff's pocket. One of their stops was Fred's Tattoo Parlor - and they are horrified to discover their tattoos are on their backsides. Worse, Norm was the one who ended up with an American flag tattoo reading "God bless the U.S. Post Office", while Cliff got a heart reading "I love Vera".
  • Enemy Mine: Carla and Diane put aside their typical animosity to crack wise and share snickers at Janet Eldrige's expense in "Strange Bedfellows." They even high-five each other after some particularly good snark.
  • Ensemble Cast: Not really true in the Diane years—various characters get screen time and episodes devoted to them, but Danson and Long are the stars of the show and the Sam-Diane relationship is the central arc. After Shelley Long left Cheers became more of a true Ensemble Cast.
  • Enter Stage Window: Sam and Woody climb into Kelly's bedroom so Woody can have a chance to discuss his relationship with her, before she goes off to school.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: "Sam at Eleven", the fourth episode of the first season, ends with a tracking shot that starts with Sam and Diane in the pool room and goes out past the bathrooms all the way to the front of the bar. The show never featured a shot like that again.
  • Escalating War: Sam gets in one of these with Gary's Olde Towne Tavern every year.
  • Establishing Shot: Many of the Bull and Finch in Boston, both in the opening credits and within episodes, as well as other Establishing Shots of the Boston skyline from time to time.
  • Eternal Love: Invoked by Diane in "The Triangle" when she and Sam "plan out" their false account of a romantic evening together, to fool Frasier. When supplying Sam's ideal declaration of love, she basically pulls out all the stops:
    Diane: [Dictating] "I love you, Diane.... I've always loved you—and I always will, to the day I die. No...not even the grave will diminish our loveonly make its flame burn brighter...!"
    Sam: Whatever.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Diane says "Et tu, Woody?" in "Save the Last Dance for Me" after Woody echoes Sam and talks about "picking up the babes."
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In the second episode of the series Norm and Coach ogle the legs of a woman outside the bar window and nervously go back to their normal business when they realize she is about to enter. Diane begins to give a speech about how grown men should be above ogling women only to be interrupted when the woman enters the bar and is revealed to be a total bombshell. Diane's response? "Holy..."
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Ernie Pantuso, known to all as the Coach.
    Coach: [After answering the phone] Is there an Ernie Pantuso here?
    Sam: That's you, Coach.
    Coach: [To phone] Speaking!
  • Everyone Can See It: Sam and Diane in Seasons 3 and 4. No one, no one, thinks Sam and Diane are broken up, even when Diane is dating Frasier. Invoked by Frasier verbatim when he gives the couple a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Carla sighs at one point when she sees Diane back, stating that either Sam will kill Diane (Carla wins!) or Diane will kill Sam (Carla tells the police, Diane gets executed, Carla wins!) It takes a lot of convincing during those seasons for Sam and Diane to accept that the feelings they had in Season 2 really were of a permanent basis.note 
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Season 4's "2 Good 2 Be 4 Real"—with the unsurprising exception of Diane, who even insists on pronouncing it "meem". And eventually, even she gets sick of him.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Happens In-Universe when the gang starts discussing the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons in "Triangle"...
    Norm: [Sarcastically] I suppose that means the coyote is the ANTICHRIST!
  • Everything Is an Instrument: The cold open for "Severe Crane Damage" starts with Norm tapping his pencil on the bar, which leads to two of the extras tapping a deck of playing cards and other people, including Woody and Carla, tapping on the bar and the cash register. Some guys come out of the back banging pool cues on the floor, other extras clap and stomp, Rebecca comes out of her office with a box and finally Woody starts singing, "We will, we will rock you!" while high-fiving Sam and everybody singing along.
  • Exact Words: One of Harry the Hat's bets. He wagers a dime that he can take off his hat, put a drink under it, and drink it all without touching the hat. The trick is set up; Harry ducks under the bar, makes "glug glug" sounds, and claims to have finished it off. Cliff protests and picks up the hat to show that the glass is still full— at which point Harry grabs the drink and finishes it off, which fulfills the terms of the bet. (Then Cliff protests that anyone could do that trick, and they switch roles— and while Cliff is ducked under the bar, Harry picks up the hat, drinks the liquor, and puts the hat back. Cliff laughs that Harry is out a dime — then Coach demands $5 for the drink.)
    • In one episode's Cold Open, Diane enters the bar to a lackluster greeting, and becomes upset, pointing out that whenever Norm comes in, he gets his traditional welcome of "NORM!". She asks if it would be possible to receive "the same treatment" for once; Sam apologizes and rallies the bar to try again. A pleased Diane exits, opens the door, and says hello...and sure enough, everyone yells "NORM!" Diane laughs at the joke and says she appreciates it.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Happens in "Cry Hard" when the gang finds some printouts from Robin's computer and Rebecca realizes he has been using her for corporate espionage against Rebecca's employer, the Lilith Corporation.
    "Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute you guys. Let's not jump to any wild conclusions here. Let's just look at the facts. Now, all we really know is that Robin is using my secret password to break into my corporation's confidential files, and from the date on these, well it looks like he's been doing it since, well since the day after we first slept together. So all I think we can conclude by this is I AM TOO STUPID TO LIVE!"
  • Expy: Sam Malone is an Expy of Jim Lonborg. The photo of Sam pitching behind the bar is Lonborg, and Sam even wore Lonborg's numbernote .
  • Extra-Long Episode: It ended its hugely successful 11-year run with "One for the Road", a 73-minute episode. (98 minutes in 1993 with commercials.)
  • Extreme Libido: In the final season, Sam realizes he's a sex addict and starts going to meetings.

  • The Faceless: Norm's wife Vera. Also, his horny niece Donnao.
  • Face Doodling: Sam draws a mustache on Rebecca's face after she passes out drunk in "One Happy Chappy in a Snappy Serape."
  • Fairy Tale Wedding Dress: Rebecca wears a big poofy one in "Wedding Bell Blues."
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Sam, the ex-Red Sox star. Eddie—once a Bruin, later a Penguin (in the Ice Capades).
    • After getting fired by the Lillian Corporation, Rebecca takes a demeaning job doing demonstrations at an auto show. Eventually Sam brings her back on as manager of Cheers.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: In part one of "The Impossible Dream" Rebecca constantly name-drops tycoons such as Donald Trump and Robin Colcord as ideal suitors. At the end of the episode Robin makes his first of many appearances.
  • Feeling the Baby Kick: One episode opens with pregnant Lilith arriving at the bar with Frasier. She says she felt the baby kick and the gang goes over to feel for it. Woody says that he heard it move, but Frasier tells them that it was his own indigestion. Woody then feels his tummy and the others join in.
  • Feigning Intelligence:
    • Cliff often drops random "facts" of questionable value. However, he does sometimes add something intelligent to the conversation.
    • Rebecca has no idea how to run a bar and refuses to admit it.
  • Fidelity Test: An interesting spin on this happens in Season Five's "One Last Fling" where Diane suggests she and Sam both have one day to indulge themselves in "oat-sowing." They both end up spying on the other all night long to make sure they aren't sowing metaphorical oats.
  • Le Film Artistique: In episode "Cheers: The Motion Picture," the gang makes a home movie, "Manchild in Beantown," to convince Woody's protective parents to let him stay in Boston. Diane recuts the movie into a bizarre art film before sending it. This leads to the following Gilligan Cut exchange:
    Diane: After Woody's father sees this...there is no way he will be able to order Woody to leave here against his will.
    Woody: Well, I guess this is goodbye, then.
    • When Diane asks why his father didn't like her film, Woody replies that his father thought it was too derivative of Jean-Luc Godard.
  • The Film of the Book: When an old boyfriend of Diane's shows up, Cliff suggests that, seeing as the guy is a literature professor, Sam should read War and Peace so he can compete with the guy. Sam does, and when Diane finds out she says the only thing better than him reading War And Peace for her is reading it to her. He starts to do so, but she's feeling frisky and takes the book from him and says, "Let's just watch the movie." Sam jumps to his feet and yells, "There's a movie?!" and runs off to attack Cliff.
  • Finale Credits: The final episode ends with white credits against a solid black background, instead of the usual yellow credits over a still of the bar. In addition, a Lonely Piano Piece version of the closing theme plays instead of the usual clarinet theme.
  • Flanderization: Sam went from being a somewhat meatheadish dude who had canny instincts despite his Book Dumb qualities to a genuinely dumb guy who has trouble comprehending anything more complicated than a The Three Stooges short, Diane got aggressively more uptight and prudish as the show went on, and Rebecca went from her initial appearance as a competent businesswoman to a lovesick gold-digger and ultimately into a Nervous Wreck who collapsed in self-loathing at the slightest pretext. Carla's promiscuity and abrasiveness, Norm's sedentary nature, Woody's naivete, and Cliff's general dysfunction were all increased and exaggerated over the course of the show.
  • Food Fight: "Thanksgiving Orphans", in which Thanksgiving dinner dissolves into chaos at Carla's house.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Lilith's "surprise" return at the end of "Is There a Doctor in the Howe?" is obvious right from the start, due to Bebe Neuwirth's name suddenly reappearing in the opening titles (Neuwirth was only credited for episodes she appeared in during the final season).
  • Foreshadowing: In the episode "Let Me Count The Ways," a nerdy MIT professor, Marshall, made his first appearance and Carla was noticibly flirty with him. In the next episode, it's revealed that Carla is pregnant and that she was planning on trapping Marshall to support the baby (who was actually her ex husband's, conceived when they had a one night stand). By the end she couldn't go through with it because he was such a nice honorable guy who fully intended to support not just the baby but the rest of her kids. After Carla admitted the truth, he never appeared again.
  • Forged Message:
    • Carla is upset because her husband Eddie is out of town and didn't remember Valentine's Day, so the guys all pitch in to buy her a flower delivery. She catches on when she sees that the card is signed "Edward," which isn't her husband's real name.
      Carla: His name is Guy, as in geek.
    • In the Ballet Episode Sam forges a letter from the Boston Ballet saying that Diane would've been a perfect fit for their company 10 years ago (which in context should be perfectly acceptable to Diane, as she knows she's "over the hill" to become a ballet dancer). But then she decides to try out anyway and is terrible.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: One episode had Woody invited to Kelly's father's house. He brings Sam with him and the following exchange occurs:
    Woody: Hey, Sam. I was in the dining room earlier and I was wondering something. Why do the table settings have two forks?
    Sam: Well, I guess that's in case you drop your fork, then you have a spare.
    Woody: Yeah, but why is one fork smaller than the other?
    Sam: Well, I guess in case you drop that one, it doesn't make as much noise.
  • Formerly Fat: "Woody Goes Belly Up" reveals that both Woody and his hometown girlfriend are this, only losing a large amount of weight after separating. When the girlfriend comes to visit, she and Woody both start eating like crazy again, resulting in a Temporary Bulk Change for the bartender. Frasier, Sam, and Diane realize that the couple is sublimating their desire for sex with food, and eventually help them overcome the problem.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Seen occasionally during the later seasons, when the show became more of an Ensemble Cast. A good example is Season 10's "Don't Shoot, I'm the Psychiatrist," in which plots starring Carla, the Cranes' patients, and Sam's hair all get about equal screen time. Most episodes still kept a dominant plot, however.
  • French Jerk: Henri, perpetually trying to steal Woody's girlfriend.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Cliff. Comes to a head years later on Frasier where he's leaving for good and absolutely no one is sad he's leaving. Even his best friend Norm. Many people were actually celebrating.
  • Friends with Benefits: Deconstructed with Sam and Rebecca, who try to conceive a child together—not as a couple, but as two friends who mutually want a child. Ultimately they decide that a couple that doesn't love each other might not be the best family to raise a child with.
  • From Bad to Worse: The finale of season 10 has the lead-in to Woody and Kelly's wedding, wherein everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Woody and Kelly prove unable to keep their hands off one another, Kelly's father has let loose his guard dogs, Rebecca upsets the kitchen staff into storming out, and the intended priest dies suddenly, forcing the gang to hide his body and sober up the replacement. Amazingly, Woody and Kelly do apparently get married, though according to Norm and Cliff's after-action recounting, the wedding itself was a disaster as well.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In-universe example. One episode has Rebecca manage the bar while Sam and the guys play poker in the back room. In short order, Rebecca discovers the bar's liquor license has expired (the renewal was returned due to insufficient postage) and she's forced to sell non-alcoholic drinks.
    • When basketball great Kevin McHale comes by to bar-tend so he can be a ringer in a game against Gary's Olde Towne Tavern, Sam explains that the NBA has a policy against players promoting alcohol, so McHale will just be serving water. Norm responds, "To whom?"
  • Funny Background Event: The stairwell leading to Cheers is a huge source of this sort of humor.
  • Funny Photo Phrase: The show had a variation in that the people having their picture taken weren't asked to say it by the photographer, but said it of their own volition. Woody and Sam attend a family function for the Gaines family where Kelly's mother flirts with Woody all night. They're asked to join in a group photo. Just as the picture is about to be taken, Kelly's mother pinches Woody's butt cheek which makes him yelp, "Whoop!" He then explains that where he's from, everybody says, "Whoop" just before their picture is taken. The photographer then has everyone take the photo again. This time, everybody says, "Whoop" as the picture is taken.

  • Gainax Ending: The series has many.
    • Perhaps the most famous and heartbreaking is the end of "Dark Imaginings." Sam is feeling old because of a hernia, but Diane and a fellow patient manage to convince him he's only as old as he feels. However, when he finds out the young woman visiting the fellow patient is the patient's daughter, and she calls him "sir", Sam is rocked. The final shot is of Sam sitting at a window watching the rain, realizing that although he's not an old man, time is slipping away for him, and he has nothing to show for it.
    • The conclusion of the second season has Sam and Diane fighting over her having obnoxious artist Philip Semenko (Christopher Lloyd) paint a portrait of her. Sam even threatens to destroy the painting sight unseen. They end up physically fighting, but instead of a Slap-Slap-Kiss, Diane decides that they're too combative to be a couple, and announces she's leaving Cheers—and does so. Sam angrily rips off the cover of the canvas to see the picture, which is a Pablo Picasso-like abstract representation of Diane. Philip predicted there would be no way that Sam could appreciate the non-traditional portrait, but instead, Sam gazes at it, and makes a breathy, awed, "Wow." Smash to Black. Credits Roll.
    • The series finale leaves us wondering just what Sam's true love is, although it's implied to be the bar.
  • Game Show Appearance: One of the most famous episodes involves Cliff appearing on Jeopardy!. The show was even responsible for some Defictionalization: anytime a contestant blows an automatic win during Final Jeopardy!, it's called "pulling a Clavin." It is also responsible for an Ascended Meme, as several contestants have copied his Final Jeopardy! response of "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?"
  • Gargle Blaster: Carla is famous for making them.
    • One is called "Leap Into An Open Grave" ("Open Grave" for short). Carla mixes this one up for her and Diane in "Truce And Consequences," for their night-long heart-to-heart. When Carla gives a shocking "reveal" that Sam is the father of her youngest kid (She later turns out to have made this up, of course), poor Diane grabs the pitcher and chugs it down to calm herself, with Carla looking on wide-eyed:
      Diane: [Distraught] Carla, I don't believe this.
      Carla: Me neither. You're gonna die!
    • In Season 11, she makes another one, called "I Know My Redeemer Liveth," and the guys wander in one by one with hangovers to end all hangovers.
      Sam: Hey there, Frasier.
      Frasier: I'm sorry, Sam. Your friend Frasier is dead. What you're looking at is his undead corpse.
  • Gay Aesop: Sam's old baseball teammate comes out in "The Boys in the Bar" and Sam offers him his support, causing much consternation among the boys in the bar as they believe that it will lead to Cheers becoming a "gay bar". The episode makes a clear point that homosexuals are no different from anyone else (as the gang couldn't even tell that two of the men egging them on were gay, themselves,) and at the end Sam takes a stand that they'll remain welcome in his bar even if his regulars don't like it.
  • Get Out!: In "Cliffie's Big Score." Diane does not take kindly to Cliff pulling a sudden Mood Whiplash by 1) faking the car running out of gas and then 2) coming on to her (even stroking her shoulder!). (Interesting spin on the trope in that she seems willing to forgive him... until he holds firm to the "out of gas" lie.)
  • The Ghost: Vera Peterson, although she later becomes The Faceless. Also, Sam's brother Derek in Season 1 finale "Showdown (Parts 1 and 2)."
  • Gift of Song: In the episode "Gift of the Woodi", Woody is too poor to give his rich girlfriend Kelly a present, so he writes her a song instead. Kelly loves it, but has trouble understanding that the song is her present.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: In "The Belles of St. Clete's" Cliff regales the bar with tales of his girlfriend in Florida, who is supposedly writing him love letters.
    • In a subversion of the trope, Cliff's real girlfriend Maggie ends up living in Canada.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Diane keeps a whole menagerie in her apartment.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Rebecca and her sister Susan (played by Marcia Cross) which Sam takes full advantage of to get into bed with both.
  • Going to the Store: Nick, when he has broken up with Loretta and is trying to win Carla back. Carla tricks him into thinking Loretta wants him back to get him to reveal he hasn't changed.
    Nick: I'm going out for some cigarettes!
    Carla: You don't smoke!
    Nick: I've been thinking about starting! I've heard good things!
  • Gold Digger: Rebecca. When a now-broke Robin Colcord gets out of prison, they have a wedding ceremony, but Rebecca bails.
    "I only loved you for your money!"
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Towards the end of season 11, Frasier suggests Woody makes a fake run for city council, partly as a psychological experiment and partly to win a bet with Sam. Thanks to the actual councillor making a gaffe, and Woody's humble country-boy routine, he actually ends up getting the job, much to Frasier's horror.
  • Good News, Bad News: Sam in "Wedding Day"—"I lied about the good news."
    • But then again, Rebecca's hair maintained its bounce. That's good enough, ain't it?
  • Go-to Alias: Sam's are "Lance Manyon" and "Honeyboy Wilson", according to Diane in "Dark Imaginings."
  • Grand Finale: "One for the Road", a 98-minute episode involving Norm finally getting a job, Cliff getting a promotion, Rebecca getting married, and the return of Diane Chambers.
  • Gratuitous Latin: In "Coach Returns to Action", Coach introduces his neighbour, Nina, to Diane, and tells Nina "Diane is very smart. Diane, say something very smart." Apparently deciding that the best way to sound intelligent on command is to speak Latin, Diane says, "Tempus fugit." (Usually translated as "Time flies.")
  • Guilt-Induced Nightmare: In "The Executive's Executioner", Norm is tasked with being the one to fire accountants. He gets a Catapult Nightmare from the stress. He describes a dream where he is pushing a line of accountants one at a time into an empty elevator shaft, but the last accountant is Norm himself.

  • Halloween Episode
    • "Diane's Nightmare," in which Diane dreams of the return of Andy Andy.
    • "Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment," in which a prank on Gary's Olde Towne Tavern appears to have terrible consequences.
  • Handsplay in Theater: In the bar, technically, but Sam and Diane really get into it in "Abnormal Psychology," while watching Frasier and Lilith's... interview.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Diane has a moment of this in "Cliffie's Big Score", when she enters the bar in a glamorously sexy evening dress—with all the guys responding by whistling and otherwise expressing their admiration. She doesn't mind—in fact, she basks in it.
    Woody: Miss Chambers, can I tell you something?
    Diane: Sure, Woody!
    Woody: [Nervous smile] You look like a hundred bucks!
    Diane: [Chuckles] Thank you, Woody!
    Woody: Aw, what am I saying—two hundred!
    Diane: [Cooing] Woody, you're turning my head!
    Woody: Ah-all right—one hundred....
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": In the final episode, we learn Diane has written an award-winning Made-for-TV Movie called The Heart Held Hostage, the central character of which is a thinly-veiled version of Carla.
  • Heroic BSoD:
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Cliff and Norm.
  • Historical Longevity Joke: One episode had Cliff write a joke for The Tonight Show to be delivered by Johnny Carson on Doc Severinsen's birthday. The joke is "Doc is so old that on his first birthday, he didn't blow out the candles. They didn't have fire yet." Only Lilith finds it funny.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!:
    • Coach holds the minor-league record for being hit by pitches and demands that Diane throw a baseball at him. The streak stays alive—though Diane reacts with a non-verbal My God, What Have I Done?.
    • One episode shows a prim older woman applying for the job as tutor for Carla's kids; wanting to make sure she can defend herself, Carla tells the woman to punch her. She does when Carla tells her how much she'll pay her, and Carla enthusiastically hires her after the applicant, a woman in her 60s, pops her a good one.
  • Home-Early Surprise: Norm was once hired by Rebecca's boss to paint his bedroom while he was away in Europe. He decides to bring Rebecca into the room and show her around. That's when the boss returns from his trip early and Rebecca has to hide in the closet. The rest of the episode involves Norm's attempts to get her out.
  • House Fire: The bar catches fire in "The Little Match Girl."
  • How's Your British Accent?: In "The Magnificent Six," French Jerk Henri, played by American actor Anthony Cistaro, uses an American accent to pick up a girl who doesn't like French guys.
  • Hypno Fool: Woody and Lilith in "Veggie-Boyd."
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming:
    • Sam and Diane regularly make cutting barbs at each other's expense—but each is sure to stand up for the other when an outside party goes too far (Gary, for one).
    • Also Diane and Carla—though downplayed, in that as a rule the "sticking up for the other" is limited to Diane.
      • Still, even Carla has her moments. "Sumner's Return" in particular strongly implies Carla's willingness throughout the episode to give Sumner Sloan the what-for for the pain he's caused Diane. Though the possibility arises that it's because Sumner dumping Diane is the reason Diane works at the bar at all—the fact that Carla throws him out, off-screen, by episode's end (after Sumner tries to tempt Diane away) ultimately supports the trope. Also, back in the pilot, Carla tosses a few "cheer-up" quips Diane's way when it becomes increasingly clear that Sumner's dumped Diane.
      • The fact that Carla's the victim of being dumped on by a lover (husband, in this case) herself actually makes the above instances seem less surprising for her—"deadbeat men" putting her and Diane in a sort of Enemy Mine situation....
  • Hypocritical Humor: A popular type of joke on the show:
    Norm: Anybody else curious about [Woody's hometown in Indiana] Hanover?
    Frasier: Oh I'm sure it's just a nice, regular rural town in the Midwest.
    Norm: Ever thought about visiting there?
    Frasier: And end up being sacrificed to the "Corn God"?! No way!

  • I Can Change My Beloved: Both Sam and Diane had this attitude toward each other, which was one of the biggest problems with their relationship. Sam kept trying to get Diane to be less stuck-up and pretentious while Diane kept expecting Sam to grow out of his simpler interests like Three Stooges and sports, and both resented the other's attitude. Unlike most examples, they did try and compromise on this and meet each other in the middle (Diane started taking a mild interest in sports, Sam once binge-read War And Peace in five days so he and Diane would have something to talk about), but tragically, neither one of them was ever satisfied with the others' efforts and always demanded more.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: In Season Five's "Dog Bites Cliff", Diane goes off to a Buddhist monastery-retreat to contemplate. Sam is concerned she might not come back, to which Diane smilingly says, "I won't...but I will!" She refers to it as a koan, which Frasier then tries to explain to Sam.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • After the fire, Carla takes a temporary job at a big chain sports bar. She hates it, but it pays so well that nothing can get her to quit. Until they hire a new waitress who is exactly like Diane.
      Sam: You're acting like there's a psycho serial killer over there.
      Carla: If only.
    • When a Corrupt Corporate Executive becomes a Stalker with a Crush towards Rebecca, he transfers Sam to a bar in Mexico, which has its own Norm.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: In "Now Pitching, Sam Malone", Norm says he took a prospective boss to a fancy restaurant and ordered the rack of lamb for two. Then Norm says "I don't remember what he had."
  • Imagine Spot:
    • In Shelley Long's last episode, "I Do and Adieu," Sam imagines what his and Diane's life as a happily married elderly couple might be like.
    • In Season 10's "Go Make" Sam and Rebecca both have unhappy visions of their life as parents in a loveless relationship, leading them to decide not to have a baby.
      • In a more heartbreaking moment, Sam sees his imaginary son vanishing when he and Rebecca break off the plans.
    • In Season 11, Frasier fantasizes about Woody becoming President of the United States. His fantasy doesn't end well.
    • In Season 5's episode "Chambers vs. Malone," after Diane turns down Sam's proposal (after hounding him to propose all season), Sam gets a brief flash of being walked down Death Row to the electric chair after murdering her.
      Sam: I just had a flash that I got the electric chair for killing you.
      Diane: Well, that's silly. Massachusetts doesn't have a death penalty.
      Sam: What?
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The Lilian Corporation, who own the bar between seasons 6 and 8, judging by what we hear about them. Staff turnover at the top seems to be alarmingly high, usually for corruption and embezzlement, and they don't even notice Rebecca actually exists.
  • Informed Flaw: Diane and Rebecca both make jokes about Sam being profoundly stupid, but Sam generally displays an average intelligence. He's definitely crass in his attitudes towards women, and a man of simple tastes (babes, baseball, The Three Stooges), but appears to be in no way dumb. Contrast him with Coach and Woody, who actually do say dumb things all the time. If anything, he is generally more sensible than either Diane or Rebecca (especially after flanderization set in for them).
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: In late Season 3's "The Bartender's Tale," the elderly (yet charmingly boisterous) English waitress Sam hires as a replacement for Diane has a daughter that happens to be a European lingerie model (who on occasion has posed nude). She even goes so far as to show the patrons samples of her work—and seems blissfully unaware of the immense lust she generates with it....
  • Innocent Innuendo: In "Everyone Imitates Art," Diane compares the discovery that a poem of hers has just been published to "The first time I ever"—[blush/squirm/nervous smile]—"rode a bicycle...." Sam calls her out on this a few minutes later, after further excitement leads Diane to quite literally throw herself at him:
    Sam: You wanna go to my place, and, um... ride a bike?
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Frasier, early on.
    • Diane Chambers, throughout—though she's known to humbly acknowledge her hubris on occasion.
      Diane: Oh, Sam...I'm—small, and vain—and petty!
      Sam: Hey, will you stop being so hard on yourself? I mean—that's my job, here. C'mon...!
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • When Sam finally reveals to Carla the deep, dark secret that he's losing his hair, he quickly corrects her; he's not wearing a wig, he's using a "hair replacement system."
    • Diane swears up and down that she was not in a mental institution between Seasons 2 and 3—it was a "retreat"!
  • I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday: With, of course, the inevitable, "It was yesterday."
  • Irrational Hatred: Carla towards Diane—though their relationship often zig-zags between this and Friendly Enemies, and even an implied Vitriolic Best Buds. (See Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other above)
  • iSophagus: Cliff in "It's a Wonderful Wife."
  • It Was His Sled: Fed up of the others repeatedly spoiling the ending to mystery stories he's been reading or wanting to watch, Frasier invokes this, by screaming out famous spoilers, including the titular reference to Citizen Kane and Luke, I Am Your Father. Unfortunately, Woody apparently never saw The Empire Strikes Back. invoked
    Woody: Darth Vader can't be Luke Skywalker's father. They don't even have the same last name!
  • It's All About Me:
    • One of Sam's biggest flaws, although he can usually be counted to come through on bigger issues, he's pretty self-centered about small ones. In one episode he starts a support group for owners of stolen luxury cars, interrupts everyone elseís talking to discuss his own feelings and then when he finds out his car has been found by the police casually and abruptly cancels the meeting, walks out and switches off the lights on them.
    • Cliff is even worse, to the point at which he has a Heel Realization briefly about how insensitive he is to others.
  • It's Been Done: Woody's subplot in the episode "Young Dr. Weinstein" has him trying to create a new beverage to get into the Bartending Hall Of Fame. His first attempt, which he calls "Woody's Blue Boyd of Happiness", turns out to already exist (a Blue Moon).
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Frasier with Lilith, after long childishness.
    • Sam with Diane, in the Season 5 finale. Sam stops their wedding and tells Diane to go and pursue her career as a writer, as he couldn't ever live with being in the way of her dreams.
  • Jenny's Number: In "Coach Returns to Action," a graffito reads "For a good time call Diane Chambers 867-5309" Carla was responsible for that as well. When Diane discovers it and tries to erase it, Carla huffs, "Last time I play Cupid for you!"
    Diane: Thank God the number isn't right!
    Carla: I got it right off your application!
  • Jeopardy! Intelligence Test: Cliff's Jeopardy! skills are a defining character trait. It comes full circle when he's actually on Jeopardy!, but he loses in the final round.
  • Jerkass: Carla Tortelli; Nash, Kelly's boyfriend.
    • With an occasional extra dollop of Comedic Sociopathy on Carla's part, such as when she locks Rebecca inside the ventilation system overnight, or when she forces Cliff to eat a bug on his birthday which later lays eggs in his stomach.
    • Victor Shapone in "Cliff's Rocky Moment." Everyone else tolerates Cliff but Victor bullies him.
  • Jerkass at Your Discretion: Frasier's mother, Hester, acts nice to Diane when the main cast is present, but when she's alone with her, she tells Diane that she does not approve of her and Frasier's relationship. Due to her Drama Queen tendencies, Diane knows that no one will believe her if she tries to tell them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Diane Meets Mom," Frasier's mother threatens to kill Diane if she doesn't stop seeing her son and, when confronted over this, she points out Diane's several major character flaws and her belief that Diane would end up ruining his career and life. Considering Frasier himself later blames Diane for the alcoholic tailspin his life took after she jilted him at the altar, it's hard to argue that his mother wasn't completely accurate in her assessment of the relationship.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Norm and "Kreitzer," the alter ego he invents to force his slacker employees in his paint company to work.
  • Jewish Mother: Lilith's mother fits the trope.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake:
    • Season 5 episode "One Last Fling" has Diane doing this at a bachelor party for Sam, prior to their intended wedding.
    • The guys get a stripper to do this at Frasier's divorce party in "Is There a Doctor in the Howe?".
  • Jury Duty: Diane drives her fellow jurors nuts in "Never Love a Goalie (Part 2)."
  • Just Eat Gilligan : Referenced (sort of) by Rebecca's father in "Daddy's Middle-Aged Girl."
    If they'd just gotten together and shot Gilligan, they'd have been off that island in a week.

  • Kansas City Shuffle: Anything involving Harry the Hat. Also a few "Bar Wars" episodes. Exaggerated on the final Bar Wars which involved Harry The Hat. Then there's "Pick a Con... Any Con", in which Harry is called in to deal with another con man grifting Coach, which turns into long con piled on long con.
  • Kavorka Man: Loathesome Nick Tortelli sure has a way with women—he even makes Diane weak in the knees by whispering into her ear.
    Carla (to Annie): There are three things you can say about Tortelli men. One, they draw women like flies. Two, they treat women like flies. Three, their brains are in their flies.
    • Carla herself is arguably a distaff version of the trope.
    • Lillian Huxley, the matronly English barmaid who temporarily replaces Diane, has a sex life with a body count. Even Sam is tempted.
      • The short, rotund, balding, bespectacled Paul apparently does okay, too. In Season 9's "Rat Girl," a young woman turns Sam down twice. She leaves with Paul.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: The Ken Burns-style pan-and-zoom over stills was used with the old-timey photos in the opening credit sequence.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Cliff, accounting for his seemingly endless supply of Little Known Facts. This trope was once called The Clavin because of him.
  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy:
    Sam: I know a guy who knows a guy...
    Woody: And he's a bookie?
    Sam: No, but he knows a guy who is.
  • Kuleshov Effect: With the life-size cardboard cutout of Coach's old friend T-Bone in "Coach Buries a Grudge."
  • Lab Pet: In the episode "Take Me Out of the Ball Game," the psychiatrist Lilith Sternin Crane has a pet lab rat named Whiskers.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Sam Malone after Diane Chambers gets her hooks into him.
  • Laser Hallway: Sam and Rebecca accidentally trigger the security system in Robin Colcord's apartment in "The Art of the Steal."

    Sam: Boy, I wish Cliff and Norm were here.
    Rebecca: Why?
    Sam: They'd think this was really cool.
  • Last Unsmoked Cigarette: Sam's lucky bottle cap, as a symbol of his former, drinking life. Subverted, as when he loses it, he undergoes drastic temptation while the bar is closed with Diane... and manages to conquer it by getting a new bottlecap that represented his ability to stay sober despite the original's loss.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Season 11's "The Last Picture Show," some of the gang go to an old drive-in theater and see a Godzilla movie. Cliff notices that the lead actress in this edition of the Godzilla series has been recast. Cue the following bit of dialogue:
    • The last line of the series.
      Sam: I'm sorry; we're closed.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Lilith. Invoked by Diane and Sam in "Abnormal Psychology", and lampshaded/defied/played straight by Frasier.
    "Don't you see? What these two people, who are such geniuses at romance, are trying to do is to get your hair down, thinking that it will stimulate me like some kind of Pavlovian dog."
    • It still works, of course.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Sam and Diane, Sam and Rebecca
  • Like Brother and Sister: Woody and Diane. The two are very close, and Diane cares deeply for his well-being. And despite an admiring moment in "Cliffie's Big Score" (and a couple other times where Woody openly describes Diane as pretty/beautiful), it's all strictly platonic.
  • Little Known Facts: Oh, Cliff.
  • Local Hangout: The "Cheers" bar. Where everybody knows your name.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Sam deals with this in "Baby Talk" when thinking about making a baby with Rebecca makes him unable to make a baby.
  • Long-Runners: 11 seasons. Doubly impressive considering that Frasier ran for another 11, meaning that by the end Kelsey Grammer had played Frasier Crane for a whopping 20 continuous years.
  • Look Behind You: Sam uses "Oh my God, look at the size of that cat!" to get out of a restaurant bill in "Young Dr. Weinstein."
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers:
    • When Vera describes what sex her husband Norm is like in bed, she says he is more akin to "Don of the Dead" than a "Don Juan".
    • Cliff finds out he had sex with Maggie but was too drunk to remember.
      Cliff: How was I?
      Maggie: You want the truth?
      Cliff: No.
      Maggie: You were great!
  • Love at First Sight: "Coach in Love (Part 1)", in which Coach instantly falls in love with a pretty older lady who enters the bar.
  • Love Triangle: Season 3's arc was the love triangle between Sam, Diane and Frasier. Unlike most examples, Sam and Frasier are never at all hostile in fact they genuinely like each other, and become good friends afterwards.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: Norm's final exchange with Sam in the series finale centers around this subject. Exactly what "love" Norm's talking about has been the source of much debate among critics and fans alike. (See The Power of Love below)
  • Low Count Gag: Cliff's mother gets engaged and he decides to throw a party.
    Cliff: Call all my friends.
    Norm: I think he moved.

  • MacGuffin: Gary in "Bar Wars III: The Return of Tecumseh." It could also be moments of fighting windmills for the Cheers gang.
    Carla: "Gary must never do nothing again!"
  • Male Gaze: In "The Crane Mutiny", when Rebecca is walking back into her office she says, "Stop looking at my rear end."
  • Manly Tears:
    • In one of the most touching moments in the show, Sam finds himself getting "allergic to cat stories" in Season One's "Let Me Count The Ways" upon hearing Diane describe, through tears of her own, how much her late cat had meant to her.
    • In Season Five's "Everyone Imitates Art," Sam sheds a few again after he thinks he's convinced Diane he doesn't love her anymore. He hasn't—and she catches him with his collection of her love letters within a minute.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: A lot of the humor, dialogue, plot, and characterization runs on this.
  • The Masochism Tango:
    • Sam and Diane go through this late in Season 2, beginning in the final sequence of "Fortunes and Men's Weights" and culminating in their big breakup in the season finale.
    • Also played with six ways to Sunday with Carla and John Allen Hill. By day, they insult each other (and try their hardest to one-up each other's insults) on a seemingly regular basis. By night...
    • Here, the only thing that would keep the Carla/Hill relationship from being the trope played straight is that it's emphasized that they mutually love their insult-fests—and the more caustic, the better.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: Gary manages to get the whole city of Boston to trick Sam into thinking he was dead.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Both Cliff and Woody have a tendency to give these, although for different reasons.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: One episode involves a guy who has cold feet when he visits the bar on the night before entering a monastery, who manages to touch an old piano in the bar that has been out of order by years. The piano works! Cloudcuckoolander Coach even says: "I canít believe it." All the cast convince the guy that it must be a signal that he is special and he must follow his vocation. He agrees and leaves the bar. When all comment on the miracle, Coach says he repaired the piano a week ago. When they ask him why he said ďI canít believe itĒ if he knew the piano was working, he answered that all those years he left the piano broke without any further thought, but just a week ago he felt the irrepressible urge to repair the piano, before it was too late.
  • Meet Cute: How Diane meets Sam. She finds herself being recruited into a phone brush-off to a jilted ex-lover of Sam's. Trouble is, Sam is rinsing his mouth, and can only mime the instructions—which leads an exasperated Diane to finally "explain" that "He had to go to mime class!"
    Sam: Well?
    Diane: You're "a magnificent pagan beast"!
    Sam: Thanks; what's the message?
  • Metaphorgotten: When Sam finds out Carla had sex with his nemesis, John Allen Hill.
    Carla: Please don't be angry.
    Sam: No, I'm not angry.... Well, the way I see it, you let down the whole team. It's like, you know...bottom of the ninth, one out, runner on first. You're up at bat. The coach tells you to bunt. The team expects you to bunt. The runner on first expects you to bunt. But instead of bunting, YOU SLEEP WITH JOHN ALLEN HILL!!!
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: The first episode has an obviously underage kid (who looks about 12) attempting to by a beer using a military ID that says he's 38.
  • The Missus and the Ex: In "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't," Frasier and Lilith run into Frasier's previously unmentioned ex-wife.
  • Mistaken for Flirting: Norm hires a secretary that responds to anything any man says to her, no matter how innocuous, as though it were a declaration of love.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Evan Drake thinks Rebecca is a lesbian ("A Kiss Is Still a Kiss").
  • Moment Killer: As a rule, when Sam's wooing of a girl is happening on-screen (and it's not a brief "one-scene" chick)... it's almost a given this will happen.
    • In the case of Sam and Diane, the "killer" often involves one of them saying something that the other blows out of proportion.
  • Momma's Boy: Cliff is very attached to and protective of his mother, much to the alarm of everyone at Cheers.
  • Mrs. Robinson: In Season 5's "Knights Of The Scimitar," Diane finds herself the crush of a certain college student named Lance Apollinaire. At once disturbed by his pursuit of her and drawn to his immense attractiveness (J. Eddie Peck, aka Eddie Grimes of Dynasty, Tommy McKay of Dallas, Howard Hawkins of Days of Our Lives... — let's just say his appearance on Cheers opened a lot of soap doors), she remarks that "the last thing I need is to become that man's Mrs. Robinson!"

  • NaÔve Newcomer: Diane, in the pilot.
  • Nails on a Blackboard: In "Showdown, Part 2" (the Season 1 finale), Diane does this to force Sam to admit his feelings.
  • Named Like My Name: Sam discovers that, while drunk, he had bet a stranger that he could marry Jacqueline Bisset within a year. On learning that the other party plans to hold him to that bet (and has a binding contract), he reads over the terms of the bet and realises that it doesn't specify Jacqueline Bisset the actress. He immediately sets out to find another woman of the same name to marry him. ("Bar Bet")
  • Nausea Dissonance: Parodied. Woody is unperturbed by Carla's graphic description of how varicose veins are removed—while eating spaghetti no less!—but is disgusted when Frasier loudly exclaims about an article about psychological distress full of technical jargon, unable to eat anymore.
  • Nausea Fuel: Everyone's reaction to Coach's daughter Lisa's fiancee. invoked
    Sam: Where are you going, Coach?
    Coach: (blandly) To toss my cookies.
  • Negative Continuity: The show mostly averts this trope, but sometimes uses it when it comes to Cliff's romantic life. Humor is often drawn from Cliff being a very inexperienced bachelor, and occasionally it's even implied he's a virgin. However, in two different episodes he starts dating a woman only for her to be completely forgotten by the next episode, so that Cliff can become the butt of jokes again. His third girlfriend, Maggie, has a steady relationship with him and appears in several episodes, yet between her appearances Cliff is still treated as a sad loner. For example, in a season 10 episode Paul is amused by the idea that Cliff would ever get married, even though he almost married Maggie earlier during the same season.
  • Never Gets Drunk: For a show in a bar about about people who drink a lot, drunkenness is very rarely shown, although the aftermath is shown more than a few times.
  • Never Lend to a Friend:
    • Diane borrows $500 from Sam to buy a first-edition Hemingway. Sam says he's not going to expect her to pay it back, but then Carla eggs him on by pointing out Diane's expensive clothes, lunches, etc. Finally Diane gives Sam the book as collateral; he drops it in the bathtub while reading it. A buyer offers Diane $1000 for the book, and Sam is forced to outbid him.
    • Norm suddenly comes into money and Sam starts harping on him about his bar tab. When Norm buys a boat with the money, Sam loses it and starts yelling at Norm. Norm reveals that the boat is for Sam for being such a good and patient friend.
  • Never Sent Any Letters: Lilith has an affair with a colleague, Dr. Louis Pascal, and goes to work with him in an experimental eco-pod. In a later episode, Frasier receives a letter from her asking for a divorce. Shortly afterward, Lilith shows up after escaping from the eco=pod and Dr. Pascal who's gone crazy from claustrophobia. Pascal then takes the gang hostage and at one point, Frasier brings up the letter. Lilith denies having written it and Pascal reveals he wrote it in an attempt to have Lilith to himself.
  • New Old Flame:
    • This tends to happen Once an Episode when Sam and Diane first get together.
    • Also, Frasier's first wife, Nanette.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: This tends to be the rule regarding Sam and Diane—though there have been exceptions (Woody, for one).
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Sam is not only extremely protective of his hair, he's got hair care down to an exact science.
  • Nothing Is Funnier: Before they were finally shown, Carla's household was only described to us through Carla's metaphors, similes and point of view. Leaving just how crazy it was left to the imagination.
  • Nominated as a Prank: Frasier gets Woody on the ballot for city councilman, just to prove that at least ten percent of the voters would be gullible enough to vote for him based on nothing more than meaningless slogans. Woody wins, to Frasier's horror.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Frasier is drafted by Rebecca to be a clown for a corporate children's party in "Send in the Crane."
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Woody's subplot from "Young Dr. Weinstein" (see It's Been Done) ends with him finally succeeding in creating an original drink. Unfortunately, he can't remember what he put in it.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • How Rebecca got nicknamed "Backseat Becky" during her college years.
    • For Woody, it's just merely "The Incident." Recalling it prevented him from babysitting Frederick Crane & watching the bar for a day. Norm assumed it was an effective excuse.
    • Frequently when Carla's talking about her kids.
    Of course they look happy. They just found out they won't be tried as adults.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the show being set in Boston, the only main character who speaks with a notable Boston accent is Cliff. (And even John Ratzenberger mostly stopped doing the accent in later seasons.). Partially justified as several characters are not Boston natives.
    • Averted early in the series as many of the barflies have authentic Boston accents. Nicholas Colasanto was from neighbouring Rhode Island, and Shelley Long could pull off a passable Boston Brahmin accent.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Woody tunes Frasier out in "The Book of Samuel."
  • Not So Above It All: Both Diane and Frasier, the longer they stay at Cheers. When Sumner Sloane returns, Diane muses about herself when she first arrived at the bar, "What a prissy little snot I was!" Sumner Sloan is also gobsmacked when Diane tells him to "cut the crap." Also highlighted when Diane gets involved in the food fight at Thanksgiving.
    Diane: [Trying to stop a Food Fight] PEOPLE!—PEOPLE!—PEOPLE! STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY!!! [Pause] I have never been witness to such a silly, soph— [Splat! Tense pause] Sam Malone... Kiss your butt good-BYE!
Meanwhile, Frasier finds he enjoys hockey and doing "guy stuff" at the bar; for him, it's cathartic.
  • Not So Great Escape: One episode features Norm being hired to paint the bedroom of Rebecca's millionaire crush Evan Drake while the latter is away on a business trip. Rebecca then convinces Norm to let her tag along for her to "see where he sleeps." Unfortunately, Drake returns early leaving only enough time for Rebecca to hide in the closet, making Norm go to increasingly ludicrous attempts to make the exhausted Drake leave the room (as he would probably find Rebecca in the morning), culminating in Norm convincing Drake to help him carry out his "fantasy" of "carrying a rich man across the lawn in his pajamas".
  • Not So Remote: "Get Your Kicks on Route 666" has Sam, Frasier, Norm, and Cliff take a road trip. They crash into a ditch somewhere in the desert and get stuck. They spend the rest of the night trying to survive in the middle of nowhere, then go to sleep. Sam, Frasier, and Cliff wake up to find Norm missing. Seconds later, he rolls up in a golf cart. It turns out there was a resort just over the hill.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Inverted in one instance with Woody and Kelly. She walks in on him rehearsing a love scene with another actor, which involves kissing, and despite being The Ditz comes to the correct conclusion. And she's still outraged, because that's what she didn't want Woody doing.
  • #1 Dime: Sam's lucky bottle cap, from the last bottle of alcohol he drank before quitting.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Woody is a simpleton, but his father seems to be intelligent. For example, Woody bows out of investing in Norm's Tan 'N' Wash because he states, "You know, when I left home, my father gave me some very sound advice. 'Never trust a man who can't look you in the eye, never talk when you can listen, and never spend venture capital on a limited partnership without a detailed analytical fiduciary prospectus.'"
    • Coach (of all people) pulls this off brilliantly when he teams up with Harry the Hat to outwit a guy who conned him out of $8,000 in "Pick a Con, Any Con".
  • Oblivious to Love: Mr. Drake in regards to Rebecca.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Norm and Rebecca develop one of sorts.
    • Also, Diane and Cliff. Closer to the show's beginning, Cliff's sort of a know-it-all Jerkass who at times make remarks that sound slightly misogynistic—much to Diane's annoyance. As Season Two progresses his sweet/vulnerable side comes out, most notably in Season Two's "Cliff's Rocky Moment." Diane also goes the extra mile to be the ideal "date" for him in Season Four's "Cliffie's Big Score."
  • Official Couple: From the beginning, Sam and Diane were conceived as having a flirtatious (and eventually romantic) parallel to Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn.
    • In the Rebecca era, Woody and Kelly inherit the title.
  • Off the Wagon: Happens to Sam when he and Diane break up in the Season Two finale. And never again.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the series premiere, Diane at first bursts out laughing when Sam offers to hire her. This is immediately followed by Carla reading a long, complicated list of drink orders to Sam, which Diane clearly pays no real attention to. She declares her intention to instead go out into the world and look for "a job that's perfect for me," as opposed to one as a mere waitress. Just as she's about to leave, Sam realizes he's forgotten Carla's orders and asks her to repeat. Cue an exasperated Diane, without batting an eye, reciting the entire list word for word. Carla and Sam stare at her in amazed silence... and Diane visibly realizes she's just doomed herself.
  • Ominous Adversarial Amusement: When it appears that Harry the Hat has conned Coach, Sam, Norm, Cliff, and another conman out of a bunch of money (including Coach's life savings) Coach has his head in his hands, shaking. Then it turns out that he's not crying, he's laughing. "Coach, what are you laughing at?" Coach responds "That!" and points to the back of the bar, where Harry reappears. He and Coach set up a con within a con within a con in order to con the other con artist out of his money.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Diane gets a lot of time off for her personal pursuits, which is one of the reasons Carla dislikes her (having to cover for her.) One of the Running Gags late in the show's run is that Rebecca doesn't seem to have an official job at Cheers.
  • The Oner: The last shot of "Sam at Eleven", the series' fourth episode.
  • One Season Athlete: Bar owner Sam Malone is approached to come out of retirement as his old team really needs his services as a reserve player. Sam consents to this, then when he is on tour with the team realises he is an old man in his thirties among players ten years or more younger, whose priorities aren't his. He understands that he has grown up and moved on and this isn't his life any more. Sam returns to Cheers and accepts this is where he belongs now.
  • One True Love: Sam and Diane; Woody and Kelly; (arguably) Cliff and Maggie.
  • One-Word Title: Cheers
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: In "No Help Wanted," Diane helps give Sam a cold shower after an encounter with an Old Flame of squirting seltzer water down there. Coach walks over, takes a look at Sam's wet pants, and snarks, "Have an accident, Sam, or are you just glad to see me?" He then busts a gut in guffaws.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In "Money Dearest" we hear Sam finish a joke with "Well that may be so, but this one's eating my popcorn!". This Orphaned Punchine, also featured in The Sting and Men in Black, happens to be the punchline to a real joke.
    • Diane on more than one occasion tells a mostly off-screen joke with an onscreen French punchline: "Si vous parlez lentement, je ne peux pas comprendre!" (In English: "If you speak slowly, I can't understand!")
  • Opposites Attract: Sam and Diane. Also thoroughly deconstructed and lampshaded on a number of occasions with the toxic nature of their relationship. John Cleese even shows up in one episode to basically make it a point to vehemently dismiss the concept.
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order: In one episode Diane convinces Sam to let her be the bartender for the evening rather than just being a waitress. An order comes in for a Bloody Mary, a particularly complex mixed drink. Naturally Diane doesn't know how to make it so she looks it up in a bartender's manual, taking a long time to make sure it's just right. As she finishes, she remarks that it is a complicated drink. Sam agrees, which is why he always mixes up a big batch before the evening starts and stores it in the minifridge behind the bar.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Sam gets a gig as a sportscaster and does a rap on air. Rebecca tells him, "As news rappers go, I thought you were fine."

  • Pants-Positive Safety: An angry husband comes into the bar looking for Sam with a revolver for having an affair with his wife. After the man is talked out of the shooting and the gun is taken from him, Sam puts it in his back pocket for storage. Afterward, he goes to sit down, and shoots himself in the butt. The situation spirals out of control when he attmpts to explain the injury by claiming he got shot in an attempted hold-up.
  • Perpetual Poverty: It's a recurring theme in the Rebecca years that despite the bar having an apparent steady flow of customers, it's just barely breaking even. It's hinted, and in some cases just shown, that this is because of Sam's generally laid-back attitude, and Rebecca's Flanderization induced-incompetence.
  • Phony Psychic: Madame Lazora, the obvious con artist that Carla goes to on a regular basis. This occasional storyline reaches a conclusion in "Madame LaCarla", when Madame Lazora retires and turns over the business to Carla.
  • Phony Veteran: The first scene of the first episode involves a kid (who looks about 12) with a phony military ID claiming to be a 'Nam vet.
  • Phrase Catcher: "NORM!"
    • This is typically done Once per Episode, and is followed by Sam (or Coach, or Woody) asking Norm how things are going and him responding with an amusing one-liner.
      Woody: How's life treating you, Mr. Peterson?
      Norm: Like it caught me in bed with its wife.
  • Pie in the Face: Vera takes one in "Thanksgiving Orphans," thus preserving her status as The Faceless.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Diane is a waitress at Cheers, but she seems to spend just as much time, if not more, reading a book at the bar or flirting/arguing with Sam than she does serving customers. This is just one of the many things Carla berates her about.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Sam in "'I' on Sports."
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Sam and Carla are very close, and acknowledge that they each have considered the other as a possible love interest. They kiss at least once. She starts a bar fight in episode 2 to defend his honor. He pretends to be her boyfriend to make her ex jealous. They never become a couple.
  • Plane Awful Flight: Fraiser learns that Carla is afraid of flying. He offers to take Carla on a flight to help her overcome this fear. Realizing this would be a good opportunity to flex his psychology skills, Frasier gets a plane full of people who are afraid of flying. Pretty much every single thing that can go wrong on the flight does. In the end, Fraiser cures all of the previously phobic people, but gains a fear of flying himself.
  • Plot Allergy: "Diane's Allergy" is brought on by Diane's anxiety over moving in with Frasier. Sam reckons, and turns out to be right, that it's psychosomatic, brought on by her anxiety over her relationship with Frasier.
  • Poke the Poodle: Part of the reason Cheers never wins the war against Gary's Old Towne Tavern is because Sam's ideas of response to Gary's pranks are usually pretty crap (the ones that aren't just end up backfiring).
  • Politician Guest-Star: From Boston, Mayor Raymond Flynn and Speaker of the House Rep. Tip O'Neill—the latter much to Diane's Fangirl-ish delight. From the state of Massachusetts, Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Michael Dukakis. Also, Senator and two-time presidential candidate Gary Hart of Colorado—also much to Diane's Fangirl-ish delight.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Norm subscribes to the Victoria's Secret catalogue. Cliff looks at Renaissance art books in the library for the nudity.
  • The Power of Love: Invoked by Diane in Season Two's "Old Flames": "Sam... he can give us twenty-four hours, twenty-four days, or twenty-four years. We have transcended time."
    • She may not be far wrong. Throughout the Diane years, there are moments such as Sam feeling a shudder just as Diane and Frasier move up their wedding plans in the Season Three finale. And of course, there's the fact that they keep ending up back in each other's arms.
    • Even after Diane leaves, the fact that Sam's only other real, continuous attempt at a meaningful, long-term relationship (with Rebecca) just plain never seems to work out on his end either would also seem to support Diane's assertion.
    • Lampshaded by Norm to Sam in the ending sequence of the series finale: "You can never be unfaithful to your One True Love. You always come back to her." It's implied that he means the bar—though he had earlier repeatedly described Diane as "the love of Sam's life."
  • Precision F-Strike: In the final episode, after everyone has left the bar (for good), Sam looks around, and exclaims, "Boy, I tell ya... I'm the luckiest son-of-a-bitch on Earth."
  • Prenup Blowup: Frasier and Lilith fought over this. She refused, and the wedding proceeded.
    • And then their marriage fell apart. The moral of the story, kids? Prenups are your friends.
      • Though his divorce was nowhere near as bad as his brother Niles' would be later on in Frasier.
    • Averted with the marriage between bartender Woody and the exceedingly rich Kelly...with Woody asking for it. "I don't want her taking half my stuff." Naturally, it isn't an issue.
  • Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With: Diane has a fantasy of her "perfect" Sam, and he does this to her.
    • In a way, this is a nod to a moment in an early Season One episode, "The Tortelli Tort," when Diane drives Sam nuts by repeatedly correcting him to the same effect. (Of course, as dream-Sam lampshades, as the series progresses, Diane often "slips" and dangles propositions without any thought.)
  • Previously onÖ: A couple of parodies and variations are used for the show.
    • An amusing recap is narrated in a rambling fashion by Coach, who forgets significant plot details, starts giving the audience directions to his daughter's house, and has to start over.
    • Another recap features Cliff explaining what happened in an episode that happened to be Frasier's first appearance, while showing a slideshow of Cliff's vacation in Florida.
    • One episode begins with one that features various actors trying to tell family members/friends what happened before being interrupted.
  • Prison: Rebecca visits Robin Colcord there.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: John Ratzenberger (season 2), Kelsey Grammer (season 5), Bebe Neuwirth (season 10).
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Diane kissed Sam a couple times and almost slept with him at the same time she was in a committed relationship with Frasier. Since the series was clearly written from Sam and Diane's point of view, these incidents were either kept from or Easily Forgiven by Frasier.
  • Put on a Bus: Diane, at the end of season 5.
  • Quip to Black: A few episodes ended with a final joke to a black screen. In episode "King of the Hill", after Diane cheats to beat Sam at ping pong, when the screen goes to black, a smacking sound is heard and Sam saying, "That's why they call it a paddle."

  • Raging Stiffie: Rebecca intentionally provokes this ("And this part is just the teensiest bit illegal...") and then maroons Sam at Melville's in ''How to Recede in Business."
    Sam: Uh, can I have the chocolate fondue?
    Waiter: You realize that will take 20 minutes to prepare?
    Sam: Yes. Yes I do.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Subverted in an episode when the guys have a beard growing contest over the course of a month or so; Cliff's beard doesn't grow in much during the contest, then on measuring day he comes in with a full, lush beard and wins. Then he calls an advice line over for some help: he cheated by supergluing hair to his face and now he needs to go to the hospital to get it removed.
  • Rated M for Manly: Sam, naturally—but also Jack Dalton, an Old Flame of Diane's who shows up in "Fear Is My Co-Pilot," who takes it up to eleven (which Sam himself lampshades to Diane on the plane, later). He and Sam even face off in a macho bout of arm-wrestling. Though Dalton eventually wins, Sam gives him a good run for his money—with Diane non-verbally admiring in the background.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: After Kirstie Alley got pregnant during Season 9, the writers crafted a storyline in which Rebecca and Sam decided to conceive a child together. After Alley had a miscarriage, Sam and Rebecca change their minds.
  • Really Gets Around: Carla, who not only Really Gets Around but is seemingly constantly pregnant. Sam is portrayed this way right at the end of the series, which was something of a departure for a show that previously seemed to view him as a Casanova.
    • It's how Rebecca got her Embarrassing Nickname "Backseat Becky" Howe, due to her party girl reputation while at the University of Connecticut.
  • Real Time: Most of Season 10 two-part finale "An Old-Fashioned Wedding", namely everything after the gang gets to the kitchen at the Gaines mansion to cater Woody's wedding, is in real time.
  • Recurring Extra: Many of the barflies. Cliff Clavin was one in the first season.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Discussed by Frasier and played straight by Norm in the episode "Let Sleeping Drakes Lie." In order to sneak Rebecca out of Evan Drake's bedroom, Frasier suggests that if Norm tells a sufficiently outrageous lie, Drake will have no choice but to believe it.
  • Reminder Failure: The episode where Cliff went into the hospital had the gang miss a chance to visit him. Sam was busy and Norm claimed to feel nauseous when he entered a hospital. Woody, on the other hand, tied a string around his finger to remember and forgot why he tied it. However, we never find out what he tied the other string for.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The Season 9 episode "Grease" involves Robin going to jail for corporate espionage. In the original broadcast version, Sam taunts Rebecca at the bar by playing the song "I Fought the Law". In syndication and home video, however, a generic rock song is substituted, ruining the joke.
  • Revised Ending: An alternate ending was shot before the studio audience of Shelley Long's final episode to hide the fact that Long was leaving the series. That ending, in which Sam and Diane actually go through with the wedding ceremony and get married, was discarded in favor of the real ending, which was filmed without a studio audience, in which Sam and Diane stop the ceremony before they are married.
  • Revision: The writers wanted to do a centennial episode in 1989 despite the fact that the bar was actually established in 1895 (per the famous sign seen throughout the show's history) so they had Sam claim that "1895" was a number he made up to please Carla and her superstitious belief in numerology.
  • Rich Bitch: Kelly, but somewhat courteously averted by Woody. After Woody serenades Kelly as his birthday gift to her, she then embarrasses and humiliates him in front of her affluent family & friends by asking just where her gift was. He then returns to Cheers, has 11 sips of his beer, and dares to insult her but, darn him, he can't come up with a word that rhymes with "rich."
  • Ridiculous Exchange Rates: Played with in Season 3 when Frasier and Diane go to Italy. He tips the bellhop 200,000 lira, then complains about the exchange rate. Diane gently points out he gave the man $100 US. The gag wouldn't work post-Euro.
  • Road Trip Plot: In "Get Your Kicks on Route 666", Sam, Norm, Cliff, and Frasier go on a road trip. It goes wrong when they crash their car on a remote desert road.
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • Frasier Crane fits this trope exactly when he is introduced in Season 3 as Diane's new boyfriend, who is obviously just a speed bump in the Sam-Diane relationship. What is unusual is how the character is used afterwards. Frasier proved so popular that he stuck around for two more seasons after the Diane-Frasier romance ended, then six more seasons after Diane left Cheers, then for eleven more years on his own show. Not many Romantic False Leads have been on prime time television for 20 years.
      • Ironically, however, Shelley Long actually despised the Frasier character for simply being a Romantic False Lead, and frequently lobbied hard to get Kelsey Grammer removed from the show. The producers, of course, naturally rejected her demands each time.
    • Councilwoman Janet Eldridge (played by Kate Mulgrew), who has a relationship with Sam in the three-part Season 4 finale "Strange Bedfellows."
    • Sam's unseen brother Derek, who romances Diane in the two-part Season 1 finale "Showdown."
  • Runaway Bride: Diane leaves Frasier at the altar. It's not played entirely straight, though; Frasier is left bitter and angry and takes a very long time to get over it. In fact, he never gets over it during Cheers itself; it takes a couple of seasons of his own show on the other side of the country, and giving the visiting Diane an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to expunge the last of the venom.
  • Running Gag: All the time, both series wide and episodic. Just a few examples:
    • Harry the Hat's scams.
    • Norm's entrances.
    • Sam's cologne.
    • They seem to run out of vermouth a lot.
    • Norm's attempts to scalp free beers, and his bar tab, which is implied to be astronomically huge.
    • Carla making digs at Diane's hair, implying it's dyed, or her small chest size.
    • Whenever Henri enters the bar, the guys (usually Norm, Cliff, and Paul) mention how much they despise him and wish he never showed his face around Cheers. Then, when he greets them, they instantly become friendly and warm.

  • Sanity Ball: Sam and Diane play it like a game of volleyball. At times Diane is the Only Sane Woman against Samís immaturity and over-the-top womanizing, while other times Sam is the Straight Man to Dianeís incessant pretentiousness as well as her own brand of immaturity. The latter is especially the case in Season 5, where Diane goes completely off the rails.
  • Sanity Slippage: Diane, after breaking up with Sam. She ends up in an insane asylum, which she insists is a "health spa." Everyone who saw her there, however, is shocked she was released so quickly.
  • Santa Claus: In "Christmas Cheers" perpetually unemployed Norm gets some seasonal work as a Santa.
    Carla: [Finding out about Norm's work] So that's why my kid said Santa smelled like the place Mommy works!
  • Scary Black Man: Louis the mailman in "I Call Your Name" plays this trope very straight.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Rebecca does this to Sam when he tries to get her to give up smoking.
  • Seduction as One-Upmanship: Woody gets into an argument with a wealthy man while bartending at a party and agrees to settle it with a fistfight. The fight ends with Woody getting knocked out with one punch. When the man's girlfriend Kelly comes by, Woody decides to get revenge by taking her out on a date. The end result: Kelly breaks up with the guy and starts dating Woody, Kelly and Woody eventually get married, and they are expecting their first child when the series ends.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Frasier and Sam, respectively. Helps explain Lilith's "talk show" incident (aside from All Girls Want Bad Boys, of course...).
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Interseries example with Frasier. In Season 10's "I'm OK, You're Defective" the audience is presented with a Flash Forward in which Lilith, Frasier's widow, is there for the reading of his will. In Frasier they are Amicably Divorced. However, it's possible that Frasier and Lilith may have gotten remarried sometime in the future, with both displaying a lingering attraction towards the other throughout the latter series.
    • Other series continuity errors with Frasier, mainly Frasier referring to his father as 1) an eminent psychiatrist and 2) dead, are explained away on Frasier as Frasier basically lying because he was not on good terms with his father at that time.
    • Also, the way various characters in Frasier describe Hester Crane, the mother of Frasier and Niles, makes her sound quite different and much more sympathetic than the character seen in an episode of Cheers. Seeing as Hester died somewhere between her one Cheers appearance and the beginning of Frasier, it's possible that everyone wants to remember only the good things about her, but this discrepancy is never addressed. The idea is supported when in Frasier Martin reveals that Hester once had an affair that he tries to keep secret so his sons can keep their saintly picture of her.
      • A notable exception: during one of Shelley Long's guest appearances on Frasier ("Don Juan in Hell") her character Diane mentions that Frasier's mother once threatened her with a gun.
    • The final teaser for Season 3 featured a scene with Coach (after Nicholas Colasanto had passed away) and Carla. Astute viewers would have instantly noticed that the scene was shot a long time before the airing because Carla (and Rhea Perlman herself) is not pregnant. The writers and producers knew this, however—it was used as a tribute to Colasanto since Coach was talking about a man who could see much farther than anyone realized.
    • In the second episode of the series, "Sam's Women," someone comes in looking for "Gus," a previous owner, and Coach tells him that Gus is dead. In Season 11's "The Last Picture Show," Gus O'Malley, who sold Cheers to Sam 17 years prior, comes back to the bar.
    • In Season Two's "Little Sister Don't Cha," Diane claims she was born late. In Season Four's "I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday," she says she was prematurely born at eight months.
      • In that episode, Cliff is regularly having sex with Carla's sister. Somewhere in the middle of the series, he becomes a virgin.
    • A certain Valentine's Day episode late in the Rebecca years focuses on Sam's once-a-year relationship with a woman. Aside from the fact that the episode ends with the two of them being quite keen on the idea of extending their relationship beyond once a year (we never hear about her again)... Norm states early on that Sam and the woman have had this Valentine's tradition for nearly 20 years. The problem, of course, is how on Earth that's supposed to fit with the Diane years—especially during Seasons 2 and 5, when the two are together during that time. Diane of all people would not have settled for anything less than Sam spending Valentine's with her, and no other woman, during their relationship. (It's even worse when you recall that in "A Ditch In Time" Diane's lines in the final sequence establish—in no uncertain terms—that Sam was around for Valentine's during Season 2.) Plus, 20 years would have included Sam Malone's 1970s baseball career, and Red Sox pitchers would have been in Spring Training by February 14.
  • Serious Business: In season seven's "How to Win Friends and Electrocute People", Norm and another patron get into an argument about whether The Addams Family and The Munsters is better, which nearly ends in fisticuffs before Rebecca intervenes.
  • Shared Universe: Aside from the obvious examples of Frasier and The Tortellis, both Wings and St. Elsewhere featured a Crossover Episode with the show. (How the St. Elsewhere crossover is supposed to work is anyone's guess, considering...)
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Season 2 episode "Little Sister Don't Cha" Carla goes to St. Eligius to have her baby.
    • After Nicholas Colasanto died, a picture of Geronimo was taken from his dressing room and hung in the main set, where it stayed for the rest of the show's run. Sam Malone straightens the Geronimo picture before walking offstage in the final scene of the series.
    • A beautiful, vampish psychologist named Lilith, you say?
  • Show Some Leg: Diane does this in "Sam Turns The Other Cheek" in an attempt to distract the guy holding Sam at gunpoint.
  • The Shrink: Frasier and Lilith are psychiatrists.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Carla can never stand it when Sam and Diane are being happily flirtatious with each other.
  • Side Bet: In Season 5 finale "I Do and Adieu," money keeps going back and forth as Sam and Diane hesitate on the edge of marriage.
    • Bets and bribes are common transactions in Cheers. But it goes without saying Sam & Diane's wedding was perhaps the most popular wager in the bar's viewed history.
  • Similar Squad:
    • The first episode with John Allen Hill had him using Cheers as a glorified lounge for his customers, and at one point, a "yuppie" version of Norm enters ("Ciao, gang!" "BRADLEY!").
    • Likewise, when Sam moves to a South American bar, that bar has its own version of Norm, Pepé ("PEPÉ!), who has his own version of the typical "Norm enters bar, makes quip" gag.
    • At the beginning of season 11, Carla takes up a job in a theme restaurant, which despite the (for her) terrible working conditions pays much better than Sam ever could. She's tempted to stay for good, until she's introduced to a new recruit - a blonde Boston University student called Ellen, who is ludicrously pretentious and insists she's a "poetess". And happens to be an eerie dead ringer for Shelley Long. Carla screams, runs for it, and makes Sam vow to never set foot in that bar again.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Gary's Olde Towne Tavern is this for Cheers.
  • 6 Is 9: The bar has a raffle using numbered ping-pong balls. Number 99 gets chosen, but Sam points out that the 99 looks like a 66. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Even funnier is when the next winner's ball is "11." Woody looks at it and calls out "Eleven!", then looks at it upside down, and mutters, "Oh, no. Not again."
  • Skyward Scream: Carla, when she finds out she slept with Paul.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Sam and Diane, nearly constantly.
    Sam: You are the nuttiest... the stupidest... the PHONIEST FRUITCAKE I ever met!
    Diane: And you, Sam Malone, are the most arrogant, self-centered, SON OF
    Sam: SHUT UP!... Shut your fat mouth!
    Diane: Make me.
    Sam: Make you...? My God, I'm, I'm gonna, I'M GONNA BOUNCE YOU OFF EVERY WALL IN THIS OFFICE!
    Diane: [smirk] Try it, and you'll be walking FUNNY tomorrow. Or should I say funnier!
    Sam: You know... you know I always wanted to pop you one. Maybe this is my lucky day, huh?
    Diane: [low voice] You disgust me.... I hate you.
    Sam: Are you as turned on as I am?
    Diane: More!
    Sam: Bet me. [cue The Big Damn Kiss]
    • Averted in "I'll Be Seeing You (Part 2)," the final episode of Season 2. The "Slap Slap" happens, but Diane decides there will be no Kiss.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Take a good guess....
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Sam and the general bar crowd vs. Diane and (eventually) Lilith. Frasier manages to straddle the line, for the most part.
  • Slut-Shaming : Subverted in "Death Takes a Holiday On Ice." After Carla and Gloria share the cars (a Datsun and a Toyota, respectively) in which they conceived their twins, Cliff says it's making him sick.
    Cliff: Doesn't anybody buy American anymore?
  • Small Reference Pools: In "Don't Paint Your Chickens", Frasier tries to tell everyone about a paper he wrote on the films of Ingmar Bergman, but they immediately get derailed into a discussion of Ingrid Bergman (and boxing).
  • Smart People Play Chess: Played with in "Spellbound" when resident egghead Frasier humbles everyone at the bar at chess—except apparent numbskull Woody, who beats Frasier every time. Frasier sweeps the pieces off the table in frustration. (Ironically he misses Woody's king the first try.)
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: After a rash promise in "Swear to God", Sam feels obligated to the Lord to go three months without sex. After three weeks without it, a too-sexy-to-resist old flame comes into the bar and Sam cracks, looking to Heaven and saying, "If you're going to smite me down, please make it quick and painless."
  • Smug Snake: John Allen Hill, the owner of Melville's Restaurant directly above Cheers. Invoked by Carla in one episode.
    • For Sam, Hill's "SaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaam" is annoying.
  • Snipe Hunt: The gang does this to Frasier in "The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe Hunter." He gets back at them.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Carla fell preganant with her son Ludlow in "Whodunit?" halfway through the third series. In "I Kid You Not", halfway through the seventh series, he was already six.
  • Social Semi-Circle: Most of the time people only sit on 3 sides of the bar and if they do sit on the side facing the audience they're only background characters.
  • Sorkin Relationship Moment: Diane's Old Flame Frasier calling Sam and Diane out on their reluctance to admit their feelings for one another in Season Four's "Triangle."
  • Spinoff: Frasier, of course, but also the often-forgotten The Tortellis, which, in addition to low ratings, also drew severe criticism for supposed negative depictions of Italian-Americans.
  • Spiteful Spit: Diane on Sam in "Old Flames" after she finds out he went out with another girl.
  • Spiteful Spoiler: In "A Tale of Two Cuties", Frasier is fed up with the guys spoiling the endings to books he's been reading, so he spoils the endings of Citizen Kane, Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: More than once during the Season 3 arc when Diane goes off to Europe with Frasier but keeps calling Sam.
    • Again in the series finale, "One for the Road," when Diane calls Sam up after six years away.
  • Spontaneous Mustache: In one episode the guys at the bar have a beard-growing contest with none of them shaving for a month, and whoever has the longest beard at the end of the month wins. Cliff (the only one at the time who regularly had facial hair - a moustache) is seen growing barely any facial hair while the other guys' beards come in thick and lush. On the last day of the contest Cliff enters the bar with an epic beard, saying it grew in overnight. After he wins the contest, he calls a customer advice phone number - he cheated by supergluing the hair to his face and now he needs a doctor.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Andy-Andy, for Diane.
  • Stalking Is Funny if It Is Female After Male: Downplayed, but in Season Five's "The Cape Cad" Diane makes it a point to show up at the same hotel Sam's taking his date—and seemingly just stand back and observe a little. Sam is not amused.
  • Stealth Insult: In "Friends, Romans, and Accountants," after a very close call with Norman's (now ex-)boss, Diane confides to Sam that her falling into the man's trap made her feel like "a cheap harlot." Cue Sam's reply:
    Sam: Aw, come on. We all know you'd starve to death before you made a living with your body.
    Diane: [Smiles] Thanks, Sam.
    Sam: [Walking off] You're welcome, Diane....
    [Diane's head snaps up; a "Wait a second" look fills her face...]
  • Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: Follows the template pretty closely. Rebecca leaves first, and apparently permanently (to marry Don, although Frasier lets us know she returned to Cheers as a barfly), the rest of the cast strolls out the front door, Norm hangs back for a bit to have a talk with Sam, and then Sam exits into the pool room after turning off the lights and telling a late-arriving customer (and the viewer) "Sorry, we're closed."
  • Stolen Credit Backfire: Norm starts a job at a local business and immediately finds himself the company's Butt-Monkey, even being forced to share his (rather tiny) office with someone else. With some prodding from Diane, he writes up a proposal for a business plan to gain some respect only to have it stolen by his officemate. He and Diane realize what happened when they hear him reading the proposal to their bosses. They're about to intervene when the CEO shoots down the proposal because it has several oversights that render it unfeasible. Norm takes this as a sign to play it safe from then on.
  • String-on-Finger Reminder: One episode where Cliff went into the hospital had the gang miss a chance to visit him. Sam was busy and Norm claimed to feel nauseous when he entered a hospital. Woody, on the other hand, tied a string around his finger to remember and forgot why he tied it. However, we never find out what he tied the other string for.
  • Studio Audience: "Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience".note 
  • Subterranean Sanity Failure: The final season features a story arc where Lilith has an affair with a colleague named Dr. Pascal and goes to live with him in an underground eco-pod. Unfortunately, Dr. Pascal turns out to be claustrophobic and goes mad while underground: he fakes a letter to Frasier asking for a divorce and gains an imaginary friend, and after Lilith escapes, he tracks her down and takes the gang hostage.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Woody, for Coach; Rebecca, for Diane. (Although both were different enough from their predecessors to really be seen as aversions of the trope.)

  • Taking the Fight Outside: Woody gets into an argument with a snooty attendee at a high society function and they agree to settle it with a fight at Cheers. When they decide that they can't hold the fight in the main room, they move it... to the pool room. (Note: this is where Woody's relationship with Kelly begins.)
  • The Teaser: The show always opens with one.
  • Thanking the Viewer: After the closing credits of the last episode, the message "Thanks for having us over on all those Thursday nights—Cheers" appeared on the screen.
  • Thanksgiving Episode
    • One of the more famous episodes of the series is Season 5's "Thanksgiving Orphans", in which the gang has dinner at Carla's house. Eventually there's a food fight.
    • Season 11's "Ill-Gotten Gaines" has most of the gang having dinner at Cheers, while Woody is at the Gaines mansion where Mr. Gaines is under the mistaken impression that Woody is blackmailing him.
  • That's What She Said: Invoked by Sam in Season Two's "Where There's A Will", when Diane tells the rich man who wrote a napkin-will pledging money to the Cheers gang (that is declared by Tom the law student to be legally invalid) that the gang want him to repeat his wonderful gesture. "She", of course, is Diane.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" invokes the feeling of a Local Hangout where a person can visit, cast away the cares of the world, and bask in the company of their friends.
  • Theme Tune: TV Guide and Rolling Stone both named it the greatest TV theme song of all time. An expanded version of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" was released as a single.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: After hurting his back at the Cranes' house Norm gets very comfortable there in "The Norm Who Came in from the Cold." He eventually brings the whole bar there.
  • This Is My Chair: Norm and his stool. At one point (just after John Allen Hill buys Melville's and starts using Cheers as the restaurant's "lounge") a yuppie steals it and Norm seems dumbstruck that he even has to explain who he is and why that's obviously his stool. He points out that he's been sitting there "since the Ford administration." He and Cliff get the stool back.In the final scene of the series, Norm announces "I love this stool!"
  • This Is Your Song: Woody does this for Kelly because he's broke and can't afford a present.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Carla and Diane, respectively.
  • "Too Young to Die" Lamentation: Rebecca and her sister play a prank on Sam in which Rebecca pretends to shoot her sister. To sell the act, Rebecca's sister screams "I'm too young to die" just before Rebecca pulls the trigger.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: In the next-to-last episode of the series, "The Guy Can't Help It," Sam admits that he is a sex addict and joins a support group. This is a callback to the few episodes which didn't play Sam's Casanova ways for laughs; one has Diane make Sam a case study wherein she speculates that he would grow old alone and unloved because he's incapable of forming a real relationship with a woman; there's another episode in the Rebecca years where Sam becomes upset because he realizes almost everything in his life revolves around sex (much like an addict's revolves around their drug); other episodes will have Sam insist that he cannot resist getting in bed with a particular woman—like when he once had to comfort a distraught Rebecca from a payphone because he didn't trust himself not to make a play for her—which is cast in a new light as of the support group episode.note 
  • Training Montage: Sam gets one in "Pitch It Again, Sam."
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: This musical effect is featured in the theme song "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," when the chorus starts.
  • True Love Is Boring: Though it's arguably painfully apparent that Sam and Diane are each other's One True Love, the show creators sure seemed stuck on preventing them from ever seeming able to work out all their issues. Shelley Long herself noted that this was a major reason for her ultimately deciding to leave the show.
  • Twitchy Eye: Diane's facial tic. (Accompanied by the corner of her mouth twitching—making it look like she's fighting a smirk.) It becomes a Mythology Gag in Frasier.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Sam sets John Allen Hill up with hot twins when trying to buy back the bathrooms and pool room in "Crash of the Titans".
  • Two-Timer Date: Cliff invites both Diane and Carla to the postman's ball in "Cliffie's Big Score."
  • Under New Management: Between Seasons 5 and 6 Sam sells the bar to a corporation and leaves to live on a boat. Unfortunately, he crashes and sinks the boat in the Caribbean. Without any money or assets left, he comes back in the first episode of Season 6 and takes a job as a bartender at the bar he used to own.
    • For the next couple seasons, Sam works to save up money to buy the bar back. After some difficulties, Sam alerts the corporation that Robin Colcord is embezzling money from the corporation's coffers, and they sell him back the bar for less than a dollar out of gratitude—creating new old management. Rebecca, for her part, gets sacked from her position for keeping silent on the matter, and Sam ends up rehiring her as a waitress.
    • For a few episodes after Sam buys the bar back, a sign hangs in front of the stairwell—"Under Old Management." Incidentally, when Rebecca is fired by letter she claims it was because of Robin, but Woody says they didn't much care for her work. The corporation could be making a subtle allusion to her involvement with Robin, but seeing as the executive Sam spoke to says he's surprised Rebecca worked for them she actually could've been just excess baggage to their business.
  • The Unfair Sex: For all his skill with the ladies, even Sam isn't immune to this. One of the craziest examples is when Sam tries his best to atone for a mild-at-best manipulation of a girl to get his car back in Season 11—and ends up having to be humiliated by her in front of a class-full of kids for it.
    • Diane comes across as a little hypocritical in the final sequence of Season Two's "Fortune And Men's Weights." There, after having gone to an art show with a male companion, she (guiltily) confesses to Sam, insisting it was just "as friends"—despite her admitting to letting the man kiss her. She then gets miffed at how hard Sam takes it. Of course, earlier in the season ("Old Flames"), Diane freaked out over Sam going out with another woman and apparently kissing her.
    • Through much of their relationship, in addition to constantly belittling his intelligence Diane had a tendency to slap Sam when she believed he'd said something out of line. During the fight that leads to their first break up, she hits him again for rudely declaring he was going to dump her, and Sam finally hits her back with the same amount of force she uses on him. Her response? A venomous "How dare you slap me." She continues to treat him like a monster for laying a hand on her (i.e. "Don't you ever hit me again" and "You HIT me!"), despite the fact that she's never thought twice about striking him.
    • Frasier suffers from this too—particularly with Lilith's attempts to justify her cheating on him and subsequent intention to leave him and their son Fredrick. Played with in that none of the gang is moved by her plea for sympathy... except for Frasier himself (eventually).
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Whenever teetotaler Sam refers to having a "seltzer," he means plain soda water and not the "hard" seltzers that have become popular since the 90s.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: In "Rebound, Part 2", Diane tells the story of how she and Frasier met while she was voluntarily committed. She claims that they met while she was playing croquet one morning against a very skilled opponent; Frasier stopped by to correct a flaw in her technique, and stayed on to watch. In a flashback, we see Diane catch her opponent cheating, sparking an argument that quickly degenerates into a physical fight. Frasier intervenes to stop Diane from hitting the other player with her mallet, and gets an elbow to the stomach for his trouble; eventually, he restrains Diane while her opponent is subdued by two orderlies.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • 11 years and 275 episodes, and four Bernadette Birkett guest appearances, and we never get to see Vera Petersen's face.
    • In "Coach in Love (Part 2)", after Irene calls off her wedding to Coach and shortly thereafter gets engaged to another (richer) man, Coach remains in denial until their wedding day. When the phone rings, he interrupts the speaker to give his blessings before hanging up, not actually hearing her voice. When the phone rings again, Sam goes to pick it up, but Diane stops him before we (or any of them) can find out who really was on the other end.
      Diane: [Gently] It's her, Sam.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Kelly is very rich and very dumb. Luckily she is sweet as well.
  • Uptown Girl:
    • The relationship between Woody the bartender and the millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines.
    • Sam and Diane, to an extent. Much is made of the wealth of Diane's late father... but Diane notes that she made it a point to reject any inheritance on her part, so as to seek her own path to success.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: For a professed feminist, Diane sure cares a great deal about her physical appearance. She complains in "Where There's A Will" that no one seemed to notice her new curly hairdo. In "Thanksgiving Orphans" she notes that, after finding out she was only invited to a class party to serve the other guests, "I...dropped the tray, burst into tears—took a moment to freshen up my mascara, and fled!"
    • In "Fear Is My Copilot", when she's in a panic, she mutters that after the plane crashes, they'll be identified by dental records—and she hasn't seen her dentist in over a month. Later, she freaks out when Sam (missing the point of something she just said) claims he's found a grey hair on her head.
    • Carla loves teasing Diane about this, with her running barb about Diane supposedly not being a natural blonde. Diane is not amused.

  • The Voice: Vera Peterson, voiced by George Wendt's real-life wife, Bernadette Birkett. Also, Sam's brother Derek in the Season One finale.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: In "Birth, Death, Love and Rice", Frasier threatens Sam with a revolver. Sam tells him that he can't shoot him, making Frasier angrily mock that he's making that assumption on his belief Frasier doesn't have it in him and Sam doesn't view him as a threat. Sam replies that he can see the chambers of the revolver are empty.
    Frasier: (sighing) Bested me yet again.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Cliff tries to cure his insensitivity with a bizarre shock therapy. The gang feels he's overcompensating.
  • Wedding Episode: Subverted a lot; occasionally played straight.
    • Subverted with Sam and Diane in the season 5 finale, "I Do and Adieu", when Diane leaves Sam (and the show) for a writing career.
    • Likewise before that, when Diane leaves Frasier at the altar.
    • Also subverted with Rebecca and Robin Colcord, in season 9's "Wedding Bell Blues", when Rebecca refuses to say "I do".
    • Subverted yet again in "A Fine French Whine" when Woody interrupts Kelly and Henri's Citizenship Marriage.
    • Still another subversion in "Someone Single, Someone Blue" when a clause in Diane's father's will requires Diane to get married so Diane's mother can keep the family fortune. After Sam and Diane's sniping blows up into an argument during the ceremony, they give up.
    • Believe it or not, played straight with Carla and Eddie in "Little Carla, Happy at Last (parts 1 and 2)."
    • Also played straight with Woody and Kelly in the season 10 finale, "An Old Fashioned Wedding."
  • Welcome Episode: The first episode, where Diane meets the gang.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!:
    • A BIG part of the Sam/Diane dynamic—even as early as the second episode:
      Diane: [On Sam's typical choices in women] Sam—wait a minute: Now, I don't mean to criticize. In a way, I was complimenting you—I think you can do better!
      Sam: I don't want to "do better." You see, Diane, there are certain things in this life that I really like—and nobody's gonna change my mind about them. You see, I like fun women—hot dogs!—game shows!—and I don't care what anybody says about them!
      Diane: [Squirms] Did you read where they found rat parts in hot dogs?
      Sam: I LIKE "rat parts"it's my favorite part of the hot dog!
      Diane: [Fighting a chuckle] O-kay...?
      Diane: You're a rapidly aging adolescent!
      Sam: Well, I would rather be that than a snob!
      Diane: And I would rather be a snob.
      Sam: Well, good! Because you are!
    • Interestingly enough, in Season Four's "Fools And Their Money," Frasier seems to want to encourage this dynamic between Diane and himself—presumably thinking it's a turn-on for her. It leads to her storming off, and Frasier inevitably invokes the trope:
      Frasier: Oh! Well, I'm so sorry to disappoint you, Miss "God's gift to men!"
  • Wham Line: In "Diane's Perfect Date", Sam was supposed to get a blind date for Diane, but didn't. Left desperate after Diane delivers a blind date for him, Sam plucks some random nebbishy guy named Andy from the pool room and presents him as Diane's blind date. They have to decide where to eat.
    Diane: So, uh, what do you think, Andy, how does Italian food sound, huh? Oh boy, I've been hungry for Italian food all day.
    Andy Schroeder: Anywhere but Villa Milano. That's bad memories for me. I killed a waitress there.
    Diane: (as the foursome leave) DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID?!
  • What Does She See in Him?: Sam and Diane are both asked what each sees in the other a lot.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: In the later seasons the writers justified Rebecca's continuing presence by having her buy a stake in Sam's bar. However, she didn't really have anything to do there, which led to a Running Gag towards the end as the characters wondered why Rebecca was hanging around.
    • In the episode where Rebecca leaves to try her luck as a auto show model, it's revealed that while the bar was owned by the company, they switched over their inventory and financials to a computer system (as opposed to Sam's old "paper-and-pray" method); apparently, Rebecca's the only one who knows how to use that system, which was part of the motivation for trying to get her back.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: "The Boys in the Bar" features many of the regulars fearing that the bar will become a stereotypical gay bar once it starts accepting gay clientele; the episode ends with Diane revealing that the men they've been worrying about are actually straight, and two of the regulars are gay.
  • White Sheep: Frankie (Carla's nephew featured in "Get Your Kicks on Route 666") is unlike every other member of the family; he's consistently sweet, friendly, and thoughtful towards others, while not having a single mean-spirited bone in his body. Carla both feels protective towards him and questions how he ever ended up in her family.
  • Who's Watching the Store?: Often applicable in a show where there are never more than four people serving customers. Usually the show is pretty good at never having the entire staff away from the bar during working hours.
    • One episode has Diane leaving Norm to close the bar (he taught her how to do it, after all), with a Foregone Conclusion.
      Norm: Alone in a bar. Diane was right, dreams do come true!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Carla is afraid of flying, which prevents her from visiting Eddie when he's out touring with the ice show. Frasier attempts to help her with her fear.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Woody and Diane are both this, albeit in somewhat different ways.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Sam and Diane are arguably the Trope Codifier for American television. Later on the show does the same thing with Sam and Rebecca, but it isn't as big a deal; Rebecca has a one-night stand with Sam and then goes back to Robin Colcord.
  • Wipe: Used in "Cheers: The Motion Picture" and "Carla Loves Clavin."
  • Work Com: To the exclusion of all other locales until Season Two.
  • World-Weary Waitress: Carla could almost be considered the Trope Codifier. Rude, surly, snarky, but still beloved by all the staff and regular patrons at the titular bar. The fact that she's a single mother who starts the show with four kids and ends with eight, and that her husband frequently cheated on her before running out on her probably didn't help her personality much.
    Carla: When I'm in charge of the bar I know what God feels like.
    Norm: How's that?
    Carla: It's like I'm in complete control of people's destinies. Yeah, I can make their drinks too strong so they get sick. Or I can water them down so they're payin' for nothin'. Or if I don't like their attitude I can spit in it.
  • Worth It:
    • Cliff tricks Carla into being nice to him by making her think he's a judge in a waitressing contest and humiliates her by having her give him foot massages. She naturally finds out and Norm states that Cliff is dead meat. Cliff invokes the trope.
    • In "Homicidal Ham," Diane turns off the bar TV so she and Andy-Andy can rehearse Othello—even though the patrons were watching a game. Norm whines to Sam, "I hope she's showing you one hell of a good time." Sam answers with a big grin.
  • Wrong Song Gag:
    • After Robin went to prison, Sam started mocking Rebecca by playing "I Fought the Law and the Law Won" on the jukebox. Rebecca decided to respond by playing "Stand by Your Man", only to find that Sam had switched it with "I Fought the Law and the Law Won".
    • One Halloween Episode saw Phil go over to the jukebox and put in some money. Appropriately for the holiday, "Monster Mash" starts playing. Except Phil selected "Funky Town". It turns out that Gary sabotaged the jukebox as a prank.

  • Yank the Dog's Chain: "The Bar Manager, the Shrink, His Wife and Her Lover" has one of the funnier examples. When Lilith returns and says she wants to reconcile with Frasier, Sam celebrates by declaring a round of free drinks. However, just as Norm gets his glass, Frasier insists he and Lilith are not getting back together. Woody takes the beer back, so Norm implores the feuding couple to work things out.
  • Yes-Man: Rebecca will do anything her bosses at the Lilith Corporation tell her to, no matter how menial—organize a kiddie party, babysit a superior's dogs, etc.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "Father Knows Last". When Carla gets a little desperate when she discovers she's pregnant—again—Diane organizes a bar-wide fundraiser for her... and leads everyone in a rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Sam actually says "Who says you can't go home again?" when he decides to try a comeback in baseball in "Take Me Out of the Ball Game". This trope is played straight however at the end of the episode when Sam, who realizes he no longer likes life on the road as a baseball player, decides to come back to Cheers.note 
  • You Just Told Me: Done by Woody, of all people, in "A Fine French Whine". He correctly deduces that Henri wrote a fake deportation letter to himself in his latest scheme to steal Kelly away. It was just a hunch, but Henri's response confirms it.
    Henri: How did you figure that out?
    Woody: You mean I'm right? Wow, score one for the Indiana school system!
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Wade Boggs in "Bar Wars."
  • Your Mom: Of all people, it's none other than Diane Chambers who drops this! When the gang faces off against Gary's Olde Towne Tavern in a bowling match, Gary makes the mistake of daring to insult Diane's sorority. Diane's response is to stun the haters silent by joining the game, and throwing a strike on her first throw... following which, she gives Gary a devilish look, letting loose a throaty-voiced "Your MAMMA!"
  • Zip Me Up: Rebecca tempts a temporarily celibate Sam in "Swear to God."

"Sorry, we're closed."


Video Example(s):


Frasier's Father

In Cheers, Frasier stated that his dad was a dead scientist, resulting in a retcon when he turned out to be a very-much-alive ex-cop in Frasier.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / Retcon

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